Romans 15:1–13comment (0)
November 24, 2011
By Robert Olsen
Related Scripture: Romans 15:1–13
Explore the Bible
Assistant Professor of Christian Studies, School of Christian Studies, University of Mobile
Does Your Life Speak Well of God?
Prefer Others (1–4)
Paul continues with his discussion on strong and weak believers and how they ought to relate to one another. When there is a difference of opinion between believers, the stronger believer in Jesus Christ needs to forego his or her opinion and be more concerned for his or her fellow believer. Just as Christ did not live to please Himself, so, too, the stronger believer needs to be more concerned for others than himself or herself. As long as the matter is not clearly dealt with in Scripture, the stronger believer must show concern for the weaker by giving up his or her freedom on the matter. Our focus should not be on ourselves but on God and the unity of the church. One way that we can maintain this focus is by reading God’s Word. When Paul points out that everything written in the Bible is for us, he is referring to the Old Testament, using a reference to Psalm 69:9. Many times, we neglect the Old Testament, but for the early believers, this was the only Bible they had. In the Old Testament, we can be encouraged by the knowledge of God and His character as well as seeing godly examples to follow. Seeing figures such as Joseph, Elijah and Boaz encourages us to persist in faith and hope.
Live in Harmony (5–6)
In stating that believers are to be “in agreement,” Paul means “the same mind.” Again this is a plea for unity. It is sad that unity has to continually be stressed to believers, showing that quite often, there is discord among them. Because Paul spends so much time on the subject, it is of utmost importance for believers to be unified. When Paul speaks of agreement, he means living at peace with one another, forsaking our opinions and desires for the sake of others. We are supposed to be different than non-Christians and live differently. Complaining, arguing, gossiping and the like have no place in the church. When non-Christians see us behave in such a manner, why would they want to be a part of that? What a disservice we do to God when we misrepresent His name and bring dishonor to it instead. We need to take the focus off ourselves and focus on the One who saved us. When we learn to focus on God, we realize the importance of doing His will and not our own.
Accept Others (7–11)
Christians are to accept one another, because Christ has accepted them and, by accepting one another, God is glorified. Jews and Gentiles can get along within the church because God has accepted both of them. Many Jews in Paul’s day believed that God was the God of only the Israelites. This was patently wrong, demonstrated by Paul recalling several passages from the Old Testament that revealed that God loves Gentiles. Since God loves all people regardless of race or nationality, Christians need to do the same. Christianity does not belong to a certain nation or land. Therefore churches today can and should embrace Christians of other nationalities and races. Anyone who claims to be a Christian needs to get rid of racist attitudes.
Express Hope (12–13)
Paul quotes Isaiah 11:10, which affirmed that the Messiah would come from the line of David, the son of Jesse. This is a reference to Christ, who will rule all the nations. The Jews of Jesus’ day believed the Messiah was going to come and throw off Roman oppression and bring Israel back to a nation of prominence as in the time of David and Solomon. Christ did not do this, as in His first coming, He was the suffering Servant prophesied in passages like Isaiah 53. However, when Christ comes again, He is going to judge the nations. But in His first coming, Christ gave hope to the people of all nations, who now can be made right with God through Christ. Out of the Jews came the Savior of the entire world, bringing hope to all people and all nations. Christians need to live in this hope, which is different from the hope that non-Christians can experience. Hope in our eternal salvation because we have been made right with God gives us the peace to be able to face any trial. The world needs to see this in the Church so that it can see God’s glory.