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Romans part 15: Wrapup

April 27, 2007

In the Roman letter, Paul addressed the rift that had emerged between Jews and Gentiles. He based his plea on the fact that both were saved from their sins through the same gospel. As a result of that gospel, they should give up their own rights and serve the greater good of the whole church. They should accept one another despite their differences.

From the last half of chapter 15 through chapter 16, it seems Paul was having a hard time concluding this letter. He knew the Roman church was going to be tested, and he wanted to be sure he had taught everything that could be helpful. So Paul called upon the Christians to teach and admonish one another to be true to the faith:

Rom 15:14 I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.

He was confident in their goodness and knowledge. Therefore he was confident they were able to instruct one another. Without the goodness, or without the knowledge, he would not have been so confident. Paul had provided them a thorough explanation of the grace they had received. Now it was up to them to teach one another.

Then Paul explained his future plans and his desire to come to Rome. Paul had never visited Rome before, though he obviously knew quite a few people in the church there. He intended to visit them after delivering the gifts from Macedonia and Achaia to the needy Jewish Christians in Jerusalem. Given that Paul had never been to Rome, it is striking how many Christians he knew there. He mentioned by name more than 25 people in chapter 16. For many of these people Paul offered a personal comment, something they had done or some virtue for which they were known. Not only did he know these people, but he knew something about the makeup of the various house churches. Paul was personally connected to this church despite never having visited. He cared about them.

After all the instruction about accepting one another, Paul felt the need to address another threat to their unity. He knew that there were some in Rome who would do harm to the church through false teaching. So he wrote:

Rom 16:17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.
Rom 16:18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.

Paul’s instruction was to avoid people who cause division and create obstacles contrary to sound teaching. He called them to be alert to the danger and to avoid contributing in any way to the damage that such people might do.

Finally, Paul concluded by placing the church in God’s able hands. God would give them the strength they would need:

Rom 16:25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages
Rom 16:26 but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith
Rom 16:27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

Paul concluded where he began in Rom 1:5, speaking of the obedience of faith which was the goal of the gospel. This gospel was the mystery which was secret for long ages, but now disclosed by God’s command. That is the call to the church today. Because we have been considered righteous through faith, we should respond with obedient faith. We should put sin to death. We should accept one another with sincere love. And we should use our gifts to build one another up in the Lord. May God continue to help us as we serve Him in this way!

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2 comments

  1. Alan; great study series on Romans I waited until you were finished before commenting. something I didn’t do on Bobby V’s blog and something I wish I had done. But water under the bridge spilt milk and all that other stuff. anyway Great series. May God bless


  2. Alan, I have enjoyed your study on Romans. It has been very encouraging and insightful. I appreciate a fresh look into the book. God bless you brother!



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