Hey y’all, its Victoria here and I’m so glad you could join me!
I just wanted to let you know that as we reach the penultimate chapter of Romans, I’m excited for this podcast, and excited to learn with you guys.
That being said, you guys know that I’m not a pastor or a proper theologian, I’m just Victoria, and trying to be faithful to the word.
I am by no means the end all be all authority to any of these things, that authority is reserved for God and his word, and himself alone.
Colossians chapter 3 says:
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
We are called to admonish each other, and admonishment can take the form of encouragement, instruction, or correction, so as I attempt to admonish you, feel free to admonish me, whether it be questions, comments, concerns, or corrections. I hope we can all learn something today from this as a collective body of Christ.
I hope you enjoyed Romans 13 podcast, and I hope that the audio and editing has improved a little bit from our last episode.
As we reach the end of romans, feel free to send me some topic ideas or ideas about anything you’d like to hear!
And as we head into romans 16, if you have any questions, comments, or observations about the chapter, feel free to send them over!
Here are some show notes if you want to follow along:
Romans 15:14-33 NG Podcast
(1) Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters.
(10-12) 10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written:
“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will acknowledge God.’”
So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.
(19-21) Let us, therefore, make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.
(1-3) We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”
(4) For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
(5-6) May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(7)Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
(13)May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Paul the Minister to the Gentiles
14 I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another. 15 Yet I have written you quite boldly on some points to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me 16 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.
14 I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another.
As we can see here, Paul is describing a church that is growing and exhibiting the fruit of the spirit.
In the NIV version, it says “instruct” but the closest translation to this is “admonish”, which admonishment can take the form of encouragement, instruction, or correction.
Admonishment in this sense is important as we can see that Paul gives the prerequisites to proper admonishment.
- Full of goodness
- Filled with knowledge
These prerequisites are important because “goodness” in Greek here means uprightness of heart or virtue. Admonishment requires uprightness of heart because if we do not approach our brothers and sisters with a spirit and intention of goodness, then admonishment quickly becomes insult, and criticism that is supposed to be constructive becomes destructive.
Furthermore, the importance of “being filled with knowledge”, meaning being knowledgeable, is that we can be kindhearted and have good intentions, but if we speak from ignorance, our well-intentioned words can do so much unintended damage. We don’t want to misadvise someone or give them wrong information, especially when it comes to the gospel message about salvation.
Many times, we will receive incomplete admonishments, which can either be true but unkind, or loving but untrue. In every admonishment we are to (like it says in 1 Thess. 5:21) to test all things against scripture, holding on to what is good, and reject any kind of evil. Unkind admonishments can be just as useful as kind ones when filtered appropriately, like if someone unkindly disputes a theological fact, they may be correct although unkind, and it still may be worth it to listen once the initial insult is sifted away.
Admonishment from an upright heart and a trusted source can be a good resource for spiritual growth. Admonishment may be hard to receive sometimes, but when it comes from someone who meets these two prerequisites, it can be trusted, and sometimes, as we all know, the hardest things to hear are the most necessary. Like it says in Proverbs 19, “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future”.
Proverbs is actually a gold mine when it comes to talking about giving and receiving admonishment. It talks about how accepting criticism from the wise is better than accepting the sweet words of fools, and how kind admonishments are life-giving, while unkind words are spirit-breaking. It also details in many places how admonishment and wise council are essential for success and future wisdom.
With that being said, those of you who are prepared to give admonishment, check your motives. Are you giving admonishment with a spirit of goodness? Have you personally tested your advice against scripture before giving it? Are you prepared to be kind gentle to the receiver’s response, whether good or bad?
Lastly, I love how he regards the act of admonishment to be mutual among the church congregation. He isn’t saying pastors to your congregants or older to younger, he is addressing them in the way of saying that any good-hearted and spiritually prepared member of the church can serve as an instrument in building up the others through their willingness to encourage, teach, or correct. We can admonish through our words, attitudes, and spiritual gifts, relating back to Romans 12:
“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ, we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” (Rom 12:4-8).
We all play different roles in upholding and strengthening the body with the unique spiritual gifts, or as we discovered are actually called gifts of grace, and the way we do it is through mutual teaching, sharing, encouraging, correcting, uplifting, and building of Christ’s body which we call the church.
15 Yet I have written you quite boldly on some points to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me
Paul is basically saying, “you guys are doing good BUT let me remind you again of some of these basic truths because it’s a strong conviction of mine and a refresher never hurt.”
This is actually super characteristic of Paul, to repeat himself as he explains in Philippians 3:
“Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.” (Phil. 3:1).
This is actually one of my favorites because he is saying here that repetition is a safeguard for the soul.
In psychology a “Habit, in psychology, any regularly repeated behavior that requires little or no thought and is learned rather than innate. A habit…. is developed through reinforcement and repetition.” (https://www.britannica.com/topic/habit-behaviour#ref47413)
What Paul is looking for here is for the church in Rome to get into Habits of holiness by reminding us of the truths of the gospel, the Lord Jesus Christ, salvation, resurrection, sanctification, and our role to play as the ever-growing church and body of Christ.
He repeats himself not only within the letter but has likely in other letters as well because what he is preaching is meant to get stuck in your head, so you can meditate on the power and goodness of God; that is what Praise and worship does, it reminds us of who God is and who we are serving. It teaches us to remember His character and promises. It equips us with the spiritual armor of truth and scripture to remember that God is moving and working and fighting our battles as we pray. It gives us the confidence to cling to and climb toward that rock that is higher than us. It puts our feet on solid ground. It brings peace and rest in the middle of the storm so that instead of begging to get out of it, we can feel protected enough to weather it, and on the other side of it gain perseverance, endurance, and wisdom. It teaches us to TRUST the God who is faithful to complete what He started, to look back with the blessing of hindsight, and see that God’s promises are “yes and amen” and that his word does NOT return void.
16 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.
Not only does he repeat himself for the good of his beloved church, but he repeats himself and ensures the proper teaching of the gospel because he is called to do it.
Paul is recognizing his mission, his divine purpose, his sender, and his strength, all within this statement. He is making a declaration of the spiritual authority of God and his obedience to follow.
“Paul had no diffidence about speaking of his commission. It was a definite commission given him by the Lord Himself, and he would not let any human instrument deflect him from the purpose to which he had set his heart and hand. …We all need to be far more definite about whatever commission the Lord has given us, and He has given a commission in one way or another to each of His people. Our lack of definiteness, our lack of purpose, is the underlying reason for our lack of accomplishment.” – Dr. James Priest
Furthermore, when he says so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God he is referring back to Romans 10, earlier in his letter, when he explains:
“ For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!””
Paul is adamant about fulfilling God’s plan which is to secure the salvation of the Gentiles through Israel. Paul here was himself a Jew who then heard the good news of Christ and then took the Matthew 28:19 commission to heart, bringing the good news to the rest of the nations, including his current audience, the church of Rome.
And lastly, Paul identifies with proclaiming the Gospel of God. Just a tidbit about this statement because I thought it was really interesting:
“For an amplification of the meaning of this term, “the gospel of God,” we need to go back to chapter one, where it is stated, “the gospel of God concerning His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.” The Gospel of God includes the whole truth of God from the declaration of the sinnership of all men, onward and including all the varied truths of the New Testament. It includes all church truth, as well as all individual truth. The Gospel of God is the glad tidings that God has devised a vast scheme of blessing of which Christ His beloved Son, our Lord, is the Head and Center, and that He has a body here on earth made up of members who are believers in His Name. There is not a truth of the New Testament that is not included in the term, “the gospel of God”.”
-Dr. James Priest
17 Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God. 18 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— 19 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. 20 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. 21 Rather, as it is written:
“Those who were not told about him will see,
and those who have not heard will understand.”
22 This is why I have often been hindered from coming to you.
17 Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God.
What does it mean to glory in Christ Jesus?
Well, if we think WAY back to September, we will remember that we came across this term back in Romans chapter 5.
Glory means praise, honor. To glory, like Paul is using it here, means to worship, praise, honor, or give thanksgiving to God. To attribute great gratification and exaltation, the attribution of great beauty or splendor to Jesus Christ.
Secondly, I don’t love the way that NIV translates “my service to God”, because a more accurate translation would be “the things that pertain to God”. The “my service to God” part could kind of sound braggy, but it is not supposed to be even in the slightest. He is saying, as we will see in verse 18, that the only thing that he believes is worthy to be boasted about is the things of God and the power of God.
Last, Paul mentions FULLY proclaiming the gospel, meaning that there is no partial gospel, false truth, anything added or removed.
18 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— 19 by the power of signs and wonders [Signs and wonders meaning the influence and the hand of the Holy Spirit], 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.
Another translation says “I will not DARE to venture”.
(Paraphrase Charles Hodge commentary)
“In these verses, the apostle explains more fully what he had intended by saying he gloried or exalted. It was that God had born abundant testimony to his claims as a divinely commissioned preacher of the gospel: so that he had no need to refer to what others had done;
he was satisfied to rest his claims on the results of his own labors and the testimony of God.
For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me. That is, ‘I will not claim the credit due to others, or appeal to results which I have not been instrumental in effecting.’ According to another view, the meaning is, ‘I will not speak of anything as the ground of boasting which Christ has not done by me.’
The conversion of the Gentiles was Christ’s work, not Paul’s; and therefore, Paul could glory in it without [exalting himself]. It is to be remarked that the apostle represents himself as merely an instrument in the hands of Christ for the conversion of men; the real efficiency he ascribes to the Redeemer.
This passage, therefore, exhibits evidence that Paul regarded Christ as still exercising a controlling agency over [his calling] and rendering effectual [or necessary] the labors of his faithful ministers. [The sacred writers would never attribute that power] to any being but God.
To make the Gentiles obedient, [meaning obedient to] to the gospel means… the sincere obedience of the heart and life. This result, he says Christ effected [or has achieved], through his instrumentality, by word and deed, not merely by truth, but also by that operation which Christ employed to render the truth effectual. It was not only by the truth as presented in the word but also by the effectual inward operation of his power [his church], that Christ converted men to the faith.”
20 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. 21 Rather, as it is written:
“Those who were not told about him will see,
and those who have not heard will understand.”
22 This is why I have often been hindered from coming to you.
“Paul did not want to build on another man’s foundation. Rather he wanted to do pioneer work for the Lord – not because it was wrong or bad to continue the work begun through another man, but because there was so much to do on the frontiers.” -David Guzik
Paul obviously saw his heart for planting and pioneering as obedience to the scriptures, and the fulfilling of the Old Testament prophecy. This was his personal conviction. But this alone was not enough to complete God’s vision for his Church. He also appointed passionate leaders with a calling from the Lord to be shepherds and leaders in the church. These people have different spiritual gifts than Paul but are just as necessary and just as right in the eyes of the father as necessary tools and resources to build the church like we talked about in Romans 12. He even names some of them in Romans 16, which we will be going over next podcast.
Paul’s Plan to Visit Rome
23 But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to visit you, 24 I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to see you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while.
What we are seeing here is kind of the end of the formal part of the letter, and rather the beginning of the closing personal remarks. In verse 23, Paul, when he says, “there is no more place for me to work”, is referring to the verses above it, meaning that he has no more territory in the area around him to establish a church where Christ is not known. The work is nowhere near done, neither for Paul nor the churches that he has planted, but it is a positive note for the success of the Church and Paul’s church planting through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Then in verse 24, Paul talks about seeing the Romans on his way to Spain. Whether Paul ever made it to Spain is unlikely since there is no historical record of it on top of the fact that his incarceration in Cesarea was caused by his presence in Jerusalem which he was on his way to. He was then later brought in bonds to Rome. Whether he got to commune with the church in Rome like he intended is also doubtful. Either way, the Lord had a purpose for the incarceration of Paul, which was undoubtedly filled, and produced good fruit even in the face of struggle.
25 Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the Lord’s people there. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the Lord’s people in Jerusalem. 27 They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings.
The Gentile Christians of the broader Roman empire had received so much spiritually from the community of Jewish Christians in Jerusalem, it was only right that they help the Jerusalem Christians in their need.
This wasn’t necessarily a command, but more of a genuine show of gratitude on the part of the gentile churches to their Jewish Christian brothers and sisters who were currently in need- a call to generosity. When Paul says “they owe it to them”, it is a show of the spiritual duty that comes with the conviction of both gratitude and a sense of responsibility for their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, not a legalistic financial duty, because we know that we have no debt in Christ. Why wouldn’t we WANT to help support those who ministered to us, and those that we have spiritually benefitted from so that they can continue to do so for others?
28 So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this contribution, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way. 29 I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ.
30 I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. 31 Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord’s people there, 32 so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed. 33 The God of peace be with you all. Amen.
Paul is calling his brothers and sisters to partner with him in ministry through prayer. Paul knows that he is going somewhere where the tensions are high, the stakes are high, and the dangers are big.
Paul, even as an apostle of God, was not exempt from danger or need, or strife. He was not exempt from prayer or even being prated over.
“Does it astonish you that a man so rich in grace as Paul should be asking prayers of these unknown saints? It need not astonish you; for it is the rule with the truly great to think most highly of others. In proportion as a man grows in grace he feels his dependence upon God, and, in a certain sense, his dependence upon God’s people.” -Charles Spurgeon
How often do we find ourselves prideful when it comes to asking for help and for prayer? We act like we don’t need it, but as humans and dependents on the Lord, we must be dependent on the Lord’s people to act as one body with us by being unified in prayer for each other.
Are we praying for each other? Are we joining in ministry and interceding for each other?
When you say you are going to pray for someone, do you do it?
It is easier to give a donation, to give money, but the most powerful and effective thing that we can do for someone is to intercede in prayer for them. Even when we feel like we have no power to do anything, we always have the power to pray. In Matthew 18:18, Jesus says “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” What we do on earth has a direct and powerful impact on what happens in the spiritual realm. Prayer for those who are asking for it and prayer for those who you love is not just nice, it’s not just helpful, it’s necessary. It is direct access to the father, the King most high, the one with all the power and all the authority and all the dominion on heaven and on earth. Prayer to the father by the blood of Jesus through the Holy Spirit is probably the single most powerful tool that you have at your disposal.
Pray for others. Pray for your friends. Pray for your leaders- your leaders do not get prayed over enough, and they need it. They are not immune from the attacks of the enemy.
I encourage you all, make a list, sit, or stand, or kneel. Get into a position of prayer, and just pray. Make it a habit to pray. Hold on tightly to prayer because it is the one thing that nobody can take away from you, and it is simply a direct and private audience with the Father, the Lord of heavens armies, the Lord of hosts himself.