It has taken awhile to get through this letter and we have learned a tremendous amount of wonderful and liberating things. It is easy to forget that this was one letter, to a very specific church. In fact, Paul wrote this letter to the church in Rome, from Corinth. Now we have come to the very last paragraph of the letter and more than likely, this was the point where Paul took the pen and wrote the closing paragraph. According to II Thessalonians 3:17, that is what Paul normally did. I understand that the reason he did this was to protect his letters from forgery, but also to bear a personal greeting to those he was writing to. I think almost all scholars agree that Paul probably suffered from a serious eye problem, which is what his comments in Galatians suggests. So Paul wrote these final words in large letters with his own hand.
Now to him who is able to establish you on your feet as his own sons—according to my Gospel, according to the preaching of Jesus Christ himself, and in accordance with the disclosing of that secret purpose which, after long ages of silence, has now been made known (in full agreement with the writings of the prophets long ago), by the command of the everlasting God to all the Gentiles, that they might turn to him in the obedience of faith—to him, I say, the only God who is wise, be glory for ever through Jesus Christ!
PAUL (Romans 16:25-27)
I think those words form a perfect summary of the entire letter to the Romans—a beautiful finale to this great letter. I think Paul’s goal in writing this letter, and summary, is for those of us who read it to be able to be established in our faith.
Now when I say that, many will think that being established means that after we have read this letter we have finished our education. We are now graduates of the Holy Spirit Academy. That we can sit down, camp there, and roast our marshmallows. Now, if that is true, then there are all kinds of Christians who are established. But that is not what Paul is saying. When he talks about our being established, he is talking about us standing on solid, stable ground. Let me illustrate what I mean. Have you ever set up a picnic table and tried to find a place where all four legs touched ground at the same time? You know, where it doesn’t rock, or shake. That’s what I picture when I read Paul says that our Lord is able to establish us as His son. Our Father wants to bring us to a place where we are no longer rocking or shaky or unstable, but solid and secure. The idea is basically what all humans are looking for—an inner security where we can handle all the problems of life. When we become established in our faith, we become dependable, and have a true sense of worth, so that nothing gets to us, or shakes us up, or throws us off balance.
I think that is what all of Christian teaching is trying to accomplish (and especially the goal of this letter to the Romans) that we believers can be brought to that place of security where we are not shaken by things, so we do not lose our tempers easily, or get frustrated, angry, resentful or hostile; where we do not scream at our children, or yell at our spouse, or get upset at the neighbors.
I want you to notice what allows that to happen: “Now to him who is able to establish you . . .” That’s right. It is Yehoveh Himself who is responsible for this. We don’t have the final responsibility to make this happen. Now I don’t know about you, but that encourages me. Although, there are things He asks us to do: We are to understand what he is telling us in this letter, and then, be willingly to cooperate with it and give ourselves to it. I say that rather flippantly, but even if we don’t, Paul is saying, we don’t have the ultimate responsibility to bring it about. But I’ll tell you what, no one likes to think about being helpless in the hands of our God. But that is what we are being called to.
I am sure, as Paul wrote this, he was thinking about all of the instances and circumstances from the past that we see in the Old Testament to encourage us. YHWH did this with Abraham. Did you know he was an idol worshiper? Not only that, Abraham couldn’t seem to ever tell the truth about his wife. He was always lying about her because he thought it would save him from problems. However, with all of his various character -faults, YHWH was able to stabilize him, establish him, and bring him to a place where he became one of the great names in all of history.
YHWH did the same thing with Moses and David. Those two had drastic shortcomings in their personalities. Then we, of course, come to Paul himself. Paul was a brilliant young Jew with an ambitious heart, a sharp mind and a strong sense of achievement. However, Yehoveh broke him, softened him, changed him and put him through circumstances that Paul could never understand at the time. But because of all of those events, he became established in Christ. No matter what came, he remained strong, steady, trusting and convinced his God was sufficient.
That my friends, is the great good news of this letter. “Now to him who is able to establish you . . .” See that? Establish you, to make you strong in the faith.
If interested, you can download the entire study of The Letter to Christians at Rome