The Beginning —– part 2
Romans 15: 14-19 (NRSV)
Then in verse 17 Paul delivers his theme for the rest of the letter.
14 I myself feel confident about you, my brothers and sisters,* that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to instruct one another.
15 Nevertheless, on some points I have written to you rather boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God
16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
17 In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to boast of my work for God.
18 For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished* through me to win obedience from the Gentiles, by word and deed,
19 by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God,* so that from Jerusalem and as far around as Illyricum I have fully proclaimed the good news* of Christ.
The most brilliant theological essay is complete, and Paul has returned to the reader to explain his motive in writing, but now Paul has their attention and hopefully their appreciation. And in chapters 12-14, Paul spoke of righteousness lived out in the life of a Christian, so now Paul says as far as you are concern, I am convinced you are full of goodness, meaning moral perfection.
In verse 15 Paul returns to his defense for waiting so long to write and come to them. Paul’s only mission was first and foremost an apostle to Gentiles and he must focus on Gentile conversion. The tremendous Gentile conversion and acceptance of the gospel stood as a testimony of God’s work through Paul. Paul preached the gospel.
Romans 15: 20-25
20 Thus I make it my ambition to proclaim the good news,* not where Christ has already been named, so that I do not build on someone else’s foundation,
21 but as it is written, ‘Those who have never been told of him shall see, and those who have never heard of him shall understand.’
22 This is the reason that I have so often been hindered from coming to you.
23 But now, with no further place for me in these regions, I desire, as I have for many years, to come to you
24 when I go to Spain. For I do hope to see you on my journey and to be sent on by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a little while.
25 At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem in a ministry to the saints;
Paul’s goal was to preach the gospel where it wasn’t, not where it was already. It was done so that the scripture be fulfilled that the Gentiles would hear and believe the gospel (Isaiah 52). But now the region has been covered and it is time to move on, so now Paul can go to them. Now Paul tells them that he is coming to see them on his way to Spain, plus he needs their help to fund his work in Spain. But before he sees them he needs to go back to Jerusalem one last time. And Paul say why….
Romans 15: 26-33
26 for Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to share their resources with the poor among the saints at Jerusalem.
27 They were pleased to do this, and indeed they owe it to them; for if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material things.
28 So, when I have completed this, and have delivered to them what has been collected,* I will set out by way of you to Spain;
29 and I know that when I come to you, I will come in the fullness of the blessing* of Christ.
30 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,* by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in earnest prayer to God on my behalf,
31 that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my ministry* to Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints,
32 so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company.
33 The God of peace be with all of you.* Amen.
Paul has a donation for the poor Jerusalem church from the wealthy Gentile churches in Asia Minor. After finishing his work in Jerusalem, Paul will be going to Spain and will come to the Roman church first. Paul ask them to pray for his work in Jerusalem for the disobedient. Interesting — believing Jews saw unbelieving Jews as disobedient.
Paul’s purpose in writing this letter was to establish a new base in Rome for spreading the gospel to a new region of Gentiles. And he is asking their help for his mission.
May the Peace of Jesus Christ be with You