Romans 15:14-21

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, December 14, 2015 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another. Yet I have written you quite boldly on some points to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God. I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done— by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ. It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. Rather, as it is written: ‘Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.’” (Romans 15:14-21)

Have you gotten to the place in your life where you know exactly what it is God wants you to do in this world? I’m guessing you probably haven’t, since for many of us we don’t see God’s plan and purpose for our lives so clearly. Personally, I have glimpses and ideas of what I think God wants me to do, but I’m open to the possibility that He may have something even better in store for me.

By this point in his ministry, the apostle knew exactly what his purpose was: to preach the gospel. More specifically, he was called by God to share the gospel message with the Gentiles (everyone who wasn’t a Jew). Paul was in a unique position to do so, since he was both a Jew and a Roman citizen, so he essentially had a foot in each of those worlds. God had specifically chosen Paul for that role, and every time we read one of Paul’s letters, we should thank God that Paul was obedient to that calling.

When Paul wrote this letter, he had not yet visited the church in Rome. He realizes that some of what he wrote was not new to them, but he is simply reminding them of what they likely would have already known. The people of the Roman church should have at least known the basics of the gospel message, but Paul is expanding on it for them so they can make sure to get all the details right and have a firmer grasp on it for when they share the message with others.

The language in this passage is that Paul considers himself to be a priest to the Gentiles. The role of a priest is to help the people draw closer to God, and that is exactly what Paul was doing. He was bringing God’s message of salvation to the Gentiles, so they could draw closer to God and receive that salvation. Paul can only “glory” (boast) in this role because it is truly from God. He succinctly says this in verse 17: “Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God.” Paul is not patting himself on the back here, but he’s showing what Christ Jesus is doing through him. Paul’s ministry and purpose would be pointless without Jesus, or the message of Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection that brings life to a dying world.

Paul shares here in his concluding remarks that he has completed a phase of his ministry. He has taken a rather roundabout route to plant many churches that are thriving. Now, his mission is to take the gospel where it hasn’t already been preached. He will boldly go where the gospel has not gone before!

This is what God had called Paul to do, and Paul knew this because of his relationship with Jesus through the Holy Spirit. If you don’t know yet what God has for you as your purpose, what are you doing to find out? Spend time in prayer with God, and ask Him to reveal His plan for you. But be prepared; God’s plan for your life may take you to places you’ve never been before and might cause you to not be comfortable. Strive to discover God’s plan for your life and to be obedient to Him, whatever that might look like.

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