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©Kris Gerbrandt

Chapter 15:14-24 (ESV)

Posted on January 21, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 15:14-24 (ESV) - I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God. For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else's foundation, but as it is written,

“Those who have never been told of him will see,
    and those who have never heard will understand.”

This is the reason why I have so often been hindered from coming to you. But now, since I no longer have any room for work in these regions, and since I have longed for many years to come to you, I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain, and to be helped on my journey there by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a while.

Question to consider: What had hindered Paul from visiting Rome?

In today’s passage, we see that most of what Paul wrote to the church in Rome related to doctrine and practice were things he was pretty confident they already knew, but regardless of how mature we may be in the faith, it is always good to get a reminder of our need for Christ, and the mercy He has lavished upon us.

So often as people mature in the faith, they think it is time to move on from these things and instead focus on the “deeper” truths of life and faith. If you have followed my devotions over the last four years, I hope you recognize that we can dig into the meat of the faith while at the same time hear these kinds of reminders that Paul has given in this letter. We continually need the Law to show us our sin and the Gospel to show us the mercy of Christ because we always seem to forget it. Our rebellion is such that we are constantly in danger of thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought or getting discouraged by our own sin or by the trials and tribulations of this world.

Beyond this reminder, Paul also explained that the mission field was broad, and his time on this earth was limited so he had not yet been able to get there for a visit. However, he was hoping he could stop by Rome on his way to Spain and count on them to supply his needs to make this trip. Christ was using him in the same way He used the other apostles who were building the foundation of the church: through word and deed and the power of signs and wonders.

There are those today who believe that in order for the Gospel to continue to go out into the world, it must be accompanied by signs and wonders, but I’d point you to Paul’s use of the word “foundation” (themelios in Greek). Once the church was established, the foundation had been laid, and God’s word to us was complete. Today, signs and wonders seem to serve more to distract from the Gospel than to proclaim it. Those who claim to be prophets are ignorant of the written word of God and rely on emotional experiences to determine truth.

Today, the need is every bit as great for Christians to support ministries that preach sound doctrine than it was at the time Paul wrote this letter. It is not that God needs our money to supply their needs, but just as God gives Christians abilities to serve the body of Christ, so He supplies material gifts that allow us to participate in the growth of His kingdom here on earth.

Prayer

Dear heavenly Father, please help us to experience the joy of seeing Your kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven and being Your instruments to that end. Give us the discernment to support ministries that bear abiding fruit in the name of Jesus. Amen.