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Seeking to equip people to live as Christian disciples wherever God has placed them.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

“When Jesus Sees You”

Romans 15:14-21

As far as we know Paul had not yet actually visited Rome when he wrote this letter.  His information about the church there may have come from some of his co-workers who are mentioned later on (Tertius, Timothy among others). This is Paul’s fullest statement of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

He compliments the Roman Christians.  He says they are “full of goodness” and “filled with all knowledge.”   Yet clearly they are lacking at some points.  Paul then admits that he has written to them “rather boldly” on some points.  This characterizes the whole epistle.  It goes into depths that theologians and scholars have pondered for centuries.

Paul indicates here that the driving force of his whole ministry has been the grace that God has given him.  He is happy to boast of his work for God.  What is that work?  It is not simply the content of the gospel.  For Paul it includes the application of that gospel.  What Paul is saying is that through Jesus Christ he has brought the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the true God, to the “gentiles.”  The gentiles here are also the “nations,” indeed the whole world.  This has been accomplished by signs, wonders and, most of all, by the Spirit of God.

Paul is prepared to press on to regions where the gospel has not been heard.  It is certainly the case that not everyone he has gone to has embraced his message.  However that embrace is not dependent on those who have heard.  It is based finally on the action of God who shows mercy to all (Rom. 11:32).

Paul then is brimming with confidence.  He quotes from Isa. 52:15.  He knows that much of the Gentile or pagan world still is in spiritual darkness.  For Paul it is enough that the gospel has been planted in those regions.  God will give the growth (I Cor. 3:6).

There are still many people in our world who have not heard the gospel.  All we are asked to do is plant the seed.  That may only be an occasional comment or helpful action.  God will turn that to his glory.

Eternal and loving God give me confidence in the power of your Word.  May I be prepared to share the gospel with someone who has never heard it.  I ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen,