-Paul now finishes up his theological imploring to the saints in Rome by letting them know they have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak if they themselves are strong (Romans 15:1). Building up others is again the exhortation rather than pleasing one’s own self (Romans 15:1-2). This was the example of Christ in His incarnation and should be indicative of the believer’s walk as well. Christ even bore our reproach (reviling, insults heaped upon, Psalm 69:9, Romans 15:3). These are prophetic words from David written for our instruction, endurance, encouragement, and hope (Romans 15:4). The result is complete harmony in the unity with believing brothers and sisters in Christ. There is to be a welcoming Spirit in the church of the Living God for His glory (Romans 15:7). *Application* Community is a key ingredient in the Spirit-filled life as Paul points out here. To live side by side with each and bear their faults and shortcomings can be cumbersome and difficult, but oh so rewarding as we grow up together as one into maturity in Christ Jesus. Remember His example as the just suffered for the unjust and brought us sinners to a higher level of acceptance in the eyes of God (1 Peter 3:18). Fulfill the law of love by forbearing with one another.
-Paul uses Old Testament citations to explain the point of how Christ became a Servant to the circumcised (the Jewish people) to demonstrate God’s truthfulness in a confirmation of the promises given to the patriarchs (the Old Testament fathers of the faith who were given the oracles of God) (Romans 15:8). This has all been done so that his ministry to the Gentiles might be given and fulfilled as the Lord has called and commanded of the Apostle Paul and others. God wants to be glorified in the nations as they receive Him as Lord and Savior, which has been His plan all along as we can see from these diverse Old Testament passages (2 Samuel 22:50, Deuteronomy 32:43, Psalm 117:1, Isaiah 11:10). Paul’s prayer at the end of his theological teaching in this letter is for them, the Gentiles of Rome, to be filled by the God of hope with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit they may abound (have left overs, be extremely rich) in hope (Romans 15:13). *Application* God is so good to open up His message of hope, joy, peace, and righteousness to us. Extend His Kingdom of love everywhere you go as you are called by His grace and mercies. He was a Servant for us; let us be His willing vessels in return out of a heart of complete devotion and sanctification (set apart and growing).
-Paul now begins to tie up his letter with some final exhortation and instruction by way of reminder (Romans 15:15). He wants these believers to be full of goodness, knowledge, and able to pass these truths on to others (Romans 15:14). He defends his call and ministry in the power of God alone and shares his future wishes to come to them finally on his way to bring the gospel to Spain (Romans 14:16-24). Therefore, the writer moves into his travel plans in the letter. He was currently on his way to Jerusalem to deliver the contribution of the saints from Achaia and Macedonia for the poor in the Holy City (1 Corinthians 16:14, 2 Corinthians 8-9). The material blessings are an apropos return by the Gentiles for the spiritual blessing the nation of Israel had been to them (Romans 15:27). Paul longs to come to these saints in Rome one day and asked for intercession in the Spirit as he goes on his way to Jerusalem. Paul would eventually get to Rome, but not in the manner he expected. He would be incarcerated in Jerusalem unjustly, have to wait for a period of two years in Caesarea Maritima under arrest, and then be brought to Rome in an appeal to Caesar on a very adventurous journey by sea (Acts 21-28). We don’t know Scripturally if he ever made it to Spain. *Application* God directs our paths. We can make our plans, but it is God who guides and leads His chosen into the right spots and purposes for His mission. Be obedient in your spiritual journey. The Lord eventually rewards the faithful.
Verse to Memorize- Romans 15:13