Paul tells them again to, in Romans 15:2 “please his neighbor for his good, for the purpose of edification” and that they should, in Romans 15:7 “accept one another, just as Christ also has accepted you”. We are the members of the body of Christ. The Holy Spirit has been given to us, and he is our teacher and guide so let us “contend” together for the work of the kingdom. There is an enemy that would distract us, slow us down, and even stop us if he could, but God is for us. Lets not be against each other. Instead, let us in Romans 15:1 “bear the weaknesses of the weak” and encourage each other.
Bear the Weaknesses of the Weak
Again Paul emphasizes that “we that are strong” in Romans 15:1 “ought to bear the weaknesses of the weak”. I am sure Paul understood that even those who are strong may have times of weakness and we all may have reason to call on a friend from time to time as in Proverbs 27:10 b “Better is a close neighbor than a distant brother”. And, I am sure Paul would have taught them from Proverbs 7:4 Say to wisdom, “you are my sister,” and you shall call insight, “intimate friend”. But I think these comments from Paul are intended more for those the wise in their own eyes, those that see the plight of those that are feeble minded, or enslaved, or entrapped by idolatrous teachings, or the traditions of men. And if we are so wise, and strong and insightful, then shouldn’t we easily be able to, in Romans 15:2 “please his neighbor for his good, for the purpose of edification”. Shouldn’t we be the ones that in Romans 15:4 “through the encouragement of the scriptures we may have hope” and be able to give hope to others? And shouldn’t we, in Romans 15:5 “be in agreement with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus”. There is another that is accuser and he is our enemy. Paul though says in
Romans 15:7 Therefore accept one another, just as Christ also has accepted you, to the glory of God.
I Have Fully Proclaimed the Gospel of Christ
The message to them is a good message for all believers, take on the gospel of the kingdom. Certainly Paul has his ministry and he describes it simply in
Romans 15:16 with the result that I am a servant of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, serving the gospel of God as a priest, in order that the offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
So, he is to proclaim the good news to the Gentiles, and to raise them to the point “that the offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable” and I think here that Paul is not talking about being sanctified himself by the Holy Spirit, but he is talking about the work of the Holy Spirit to sanctify the Gentiles. And this brings me back, because they are sealed with the Holy Spirit they have now a teacher and guide so Paul can say in
Romans 15:14 Now I myself also am convinced about you, my brothers, that you yourselves also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to instruct one another.
Contend Along With Me in Your Prayers
Paul has ministered widely to the Gentiles and that work has kept him busy so that he has not been able to go to Rome. Even now, Paul is gathering an offering from the Gentile Churches to take to Jerusalem where the Church has suffered. It doesn’t seem that there was any special circumstance that caused Paul to raise this offering. It was simply in recognition that “In a city like Jerusalem, much of the available employment must have been connected with the Temple and its needs. All the priests and the Temple authorities were Sadducees, and the Sadducees were the supreme enemies of Jesus. It must therefore have happened that many, when they became Christians in Jerusalem, lost their jobs and were in severe and urgent need”.1
This offering was a way of unifying the body of Christ which may easily have been seen as the Gentile Churches and the Church in Jerusalem. But this may also have been that “When it had been agreed that Paul should be the apostle to the Gentiles, one responsibility had been laid upon him by the leaders of the Church—that he would remember the poor (Galatians 2:10). ‘Which very thing’, said Paul, ‘I was eager to do.’2
Whatever his full motivations were, this gift to Jerusalem was an important “obligation” in Romans 15:27 that he was determined to “accomplish” in Romans 15:28. But it wasn’t Paul’s only motivation. He was looking ahead knowing there would be opposition and that there was opportunity for ministry there he asks the Church of Rome to, in
Romans 15:30–31 Now I exhort you, brothers, through our Lord Jesus Christ and through the love of the Spirit, to contend along with me in your prayers on my behalf to God, 31 that I may be rescued from those who are disobedient in Judea, and my ministry in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints,
Greet One Another With a Holy Kiss
The Report of Your Obedience Has Reached To All
- Romans 15:1–13 Bear the Weaknesses of the Weak
- Romans 15:14–21 I Have Fully Proclaimed the Gospel of Christ
- Romans 15:22–33 Contend Along With Me in Your Prayers
- Romans 15:1-33
- Romans 16:1-24
- 1. Barclay, W. (2002). The Letter to the Romans (3rd ed. fully rev. & updated, p. 241). Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press.
- 2. Barclay, W. (2002). The Letter to the Romans (3rd ed. fully rev. & updated, pp. 241–242). Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press.