Letter to Christians in Rome: Chapter 15 (pt 7 of 19)

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Paul now gives us this magnificent benediction, Verse 13:

May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace in your faith, that by the power of the Holy Spirit, your whole life and outlook may be radiant with hope. (Romans 15:13)

What a magnificent verse! It is such a beautiful expression. Look how much you have going for you. All the great words of the Christian faith appear here: hope, twice (some translations describe it as “overflowing hope”); and joy, great joy; and peace, calmness and confidence; and trust, belief in a living God; and finally, the power of the Holy Spirit! He is the invisible force that can open doors and no man shuts them, and can shut and no man opens—the power of God released among us.

This is something we need to remember. I have had the opportunity of being involved in many wonderful fellowships over the years, and each one has been a delight. I am just so grateful for it. I have heard of, and witnessed fellowships and churches where the whole testimony of Christ has been wrecked by the divisions and the attitudes that people had toward one another. Whenever we presume to write one another off because someone has liberty to do things we do not have (or feel they should have); when we talk down to people and disparage those who do not have the faith and strength to act in liberty such as we do, we destroy the work of God.

What Paul is urging us to do is to unite on the great positive words of our faith, and that we allow these qualities of hope, and joy, and peace, and trust, and power be visible when others see us gathered together as Christians. When they hear us talking about each other we are to reflect these qualities, instead of the miniscule divisions and arguments that many of us have.

In some ways, the letter to the Romans should end here. I realize that Paul goes on to give some personal words about his own ministry, which I will mention later, and in the sixteenth chapter is a long list of his friends that he greets and encourages. But, in a sense, the whole argument of this epistle is drawn to a close with that tremendous benediction:

May the God of hope fill you with great joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 NIV)

That is what we should manifest to the world around us—as well as to how we relate to each other.

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

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