Thursday 17 October, 2013

Romans 15:14-21

14 My brothers and sisters, I am sure that you are full of goodness. What you know is complete. You are able to teach one another. 15 I have written to you very boldly about some things. I wanted you to think about them again. The grace of God has allowed me 16 to serve Christ Jesus among those who aren’t Jews. My duty as a priest is to preach God’s good news. Then the non-Jews will become an offering that pleases God. The Holy Spirit will make the offering holy. 17 Because I belong to Christ Jesus, I can take pride in my work for God. 18 I will not try to speak of anything except what Christ has done through me. He has been leading those who aren’t Jews to obey God. He has been doing this by what I have said and done. 19 He has given me power to do signs and miracles. He has given me the power of the Holy Spirit. From Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum I have finished preaching the good news about Christ. 20 I have always wanted to preach the good news where Christ was not known. I don’t want to build on what someone else has started. 21 It is written, “Those who were not told about him will understand. Those who have not heard will know what it all means.”

Paul is concluding what is undoubtedly one of the most important and influential books in the Bible. He has explained how Jesus saved us, the purpose of the law, how faith works and the life in the Spirit for which God has set us free more clearly and comprehensively than any other book in the Bible: A book that inspired Luther to begin the Reformation; John Wesley to begin what became a huge revival; and probably millions to put their faith in Christ. If I were Paul, I would be feeling rather pleased with what I had written.

Yet he’s almost apologetic to be writing these things to them: you already know these things so well you could teach them and just need a reminder. (I suspect they didn’t.) I’m astounded at Paul’s humility.

But of course he’s absolutely right. Paul only wrote the letter because God made him its messenger. If this letter has opened their minds to the deepest truths about God, it’s only because God revealed those truths. If these truths have set them free from slavery to sin or from the law, it’s only because Jesus bought that freedom with his life. If they are convinced, it’s because of God’s wonders and the power of the Spirit.
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Pauls’ ambition is to follow God’s plan, preaching good news where it has not been heard. He boasts of what Christ has done through him. His enthusiasm is to be standing with the believers before God.

Ok, so maybe it’s time for me to re-evaluate my ambitions; to read just the things that give me satisfaction; to redirect the credit (such as there is) to God.

Written by David Cornell

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1 (reply)
  1. David Newton says:

    When I first read these scriptures I couldn’t see anything much to think about but after reading your observations I was left to think about the true nature of ambition. This is an important question, particularly for men!

    I really liked your conversational style David.

    Thank you David!

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