Letter to Christians in Rome: Chapter 15 (pt 5 of 19)

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The second thing the apostle says is to praise God for the relationship you already have, “as one man [with one heart and mouth], you will sing from the heart the praises of God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” That reminds me of Juan Carlos Ortiz’s analogy of Mashed Potatoes! You know, we start out with a bag of potatoes, but each potato could stand up and say, “Hey, look at me, I’m a Potato!” Then the Lord takes you and peels the skin off of you and suddenly you are closer and more intimate, but the Lord isn’t satisfied with that. He takes each member of the bag of potatoes and cuts them into little pieces.

That is good and no individual potato can say, “Hey, look at me . . .” because you are all mixed into together. That is better, but the Lord isn’t satisfied with that. He wants mashed potato so no particular potato stands out as unique and special—you have become one! You are all mashed together.

Remember that you are brothers. Give our Lord thanks together for everything that unites you, and minimize the things that divide you. Remember that what is important is that in the eyes of the watching world you manifest the unity of brotherhood that God has created. You did not make yourselves brothers and sisters; our Father did. He wants it to be visible to the world around. That is why, in Ephesians 4, we are admonished to be “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,” (Ephesians 4:3). The way to accomplish that is to: pray; to ask God for the spirit of unity. Then we turn our prayers to praise! We praise him for the unity that already exists. We have had encouragement from the past, and encouragement from the present, and now Paul tells us to be encouraged by what the future holds (Verses 7-12):

So open your hearts to one another as Christ has opened his heart to you, and God will be glorified. Christ was made a servant of the Jews to prove God’s trustworthiness, since he personally implemented the promises made long ago to the fathers, and also that the Gentiles might bring glory to God for his mercy to them. It is written:

“For this reason I will praise you among the Gentiles;
I will sing hymns to your name.” [Psalm 18:49]

Again, it says,
“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.” [Deuteronomy. 32:43]

And again,
“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles,
and sing praises to him, all you peoples.” [Psalm 117:1]
And again, Isaiah says,
“The root of Jesse will spring up,
one who will arise to rule over the nations;
the Gentiles will hope in him.” [Isaiah 11:10]
(Romans 15:7-12)

What Paul is saying here is that God is already working out a great program that involves reconciling the Jews and the Gentiles. God has announced that he is going to do that, and he will bring it to pass. It has already started. It started when Christ accepted both Jews and Gentiles, regardless of the great differences between them.

If interested, you can download the entire study of The Letter to Christians at Rome

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