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More Than a Letter (Romans 15)



Romans 15 begins with the Apostle Paul admonishing the believers in the Roman Church to please their neighbor. He had previously advised the Body of Christ not to destroy the work of God over trivial things such as food and special days in Romans 14. Paul advised that we should make peace with one another and love one another even if our convictions on food and special days differ. Romans 15 continues that speech, and Paul states that we should please our neighbors as this is the Christian thing to do.


Romans 15:3 reads, “For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.” Whenever we are in a position to satisfy our desire versus the desire of our fellow brother or sister in Christ, it is biblical if we esteem their desire over ours. Christ did not desire to die, but he did so that we may live and, thus, save our relationship with God the Father. We are to follow his example in dying to ourselves, even in our disputes, to salvage our relationships with one another, and move forward in love.


Of course, this is not always easy, and we should never agree with what is immorally or biblically wrong. But we must remember that peace, love, and unity is the goal, not winning an argument. It’s not about our ego; it’s about maintaining and keeping God’s people in unity as God desires. We are to be “like-minded toward one another” so that we may “with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 15:6).


We cannot do this if we are divided. So, the Apostle Paul reminds the church to glorify God as one body for the next couple of verses. He stated that the promises given by God to the forefathers were confirmed in Christ Jesus. Therefore, we, particularly the Gentiles (the Romans), should praise God for drawing us to him and atoning us from our sins through the sacrifice of our High Priest, Jesus Christ.


Paul quoted prophetic verses from the Old Testament that foreshadowed the Gentiles praising God for Jesus. He quoted Deuteronomy 32:34, which states, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people. He quoted Isaiah 11:1, “There shall be a root of Jesse; And He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, In Him the Gentiles shall have hope.”  Paul also quoted two more Old Testament passages in Psalm 117:1 and Psalm 18:49.


These passages let us know that God always had a plan for the Gentiles to rejoice. From the beginning of time, God intended salvation to be extended to all mankind—not just the Jews. Not only was it extended to us, but it was extended to us in a better way.  We know this from what is said in Hebrews 8:6, “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, insomuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.”


Because Gentiles have access to God under a better covenant and it was established before the foundations of the world, we should rejoice. God always wanted all people to have access to him both now on earth and later in eternity. Therefore, we should praise him for his never-ending love.


Paul then goes on to tell the Roman Church that he would continue his journey in preaching the gospel to other regions. He stated he had gone from Jerusalem to Illyricum spreading the gospel to those who did not know it. The chapter concludes with Paul expressing his desire to visit the believers at the Roman Church. He stated, “For I hope to see you on my journey, and to be helped on my way here by you, if first I may enjoy your company for a while.” (Romans 15:24).


And this is how you know that this was more than a letter to Paul. The entire Book of Romans is a letter from Paul to the Roman Church to inform them on how believers ought to behave. He called out wickedness and made many critical points on how the congregation should conduct themselves based in truth. Paul corrected and edified the Church quite beautifully through his letter. Yet, Paul still yearned to see them. He still wanted to sit amongst them and enjoy their company.


Paul understood the importance of unity. His ministry was bigger than simply writing a letter to the Romans to tell them what they were doing wrong. His preaching was bigger than telling them what they may have done right. Paul genuinely loved God’s people.  Therefore, he not only wanted to guide them per the Holy Spirit's prompting but he also wanted to fellowship with them per the promoting of God’s Spirit that lived within him.


This is imperative for our learning because too often we want to tell people that they are wrong, but we don’t want to love them. If the Holy Spirit prompts you to correct someone, it should simultaneously prompt you to love them. Paul did not necessarily need to visit the Romans to correct them. But he wanted to visit them to love and commune with them.


Let this be a lesson for us all. Paul’s edification was more than a letter. It was more than correction and rebuke. Because behind the letter was a man who truly loved God’s people. Let’s let our teaching, our rebuke, and even our living for God be more than mere words and actions. May we do all things out of a love for God and a genuine love for God’s people.


Paul’s letter was more than a letter. It was more than words. It was about edification based in love. It was all about love. So, as believers, let us be mindful of the heart behind our words and actions. May we be like Our Father and do everything out of love.


That’s all I have for you today. May God bless you and keep you.


 

Quin Arrington is a Christian wife, mother, and author with books available on Amazon for purchase at www.amazon.com/author/quinarrington

Thank you for your time. God Bless!


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