Saturday

“Now to God who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings is made known to all the Gentiles, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith – to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever! Amen.” (vv. 25-27)

Romans 16:17-27 Saturday 8 March 2014


Background

We come to the end of this great epistle with what might betermed three 'last thoughts'. 

  • In verses 17-20 Paul warns the Romans against those who woulddisrupt the harmony of the Church. Quite whom Paul had in mind wedon't know but it is clear that, in spite of the positiveimpression of brother- and sisterhood that we saw in yesterday's passage, the apostle was worriedthat the young church was vulnerable to distortions of the gospel(good news of Jesus). The Romans are assured, however, that theultimate victory over such mischief makers has already beenwon.
  • Verses 21-24 give us another collection of names, this time ofthose who join with Paul in sending greetings to Rome. Timothy is afamiliar figure from Acts 16 and as the addressee of the lettersthat bear his name. Tertius' claim to have written the letter meansthat he was the scribe. The image that we are given is of Pauldictating his thoughts whilst in the company of his friends. Gaiusand Erastus are clearly people of substance who, given the linksthat we saw in yesterday's passage, may have been known tothe Romans. 
  • The last part of the letter (verses 25-27) is a doxology. Inone long and complex sentence, Paul gives glory to God who hasrevealed the hidden mystery of the gospel and will enable theRomans to stand firm in the faith that they have received. We areback with one of the central themes of this letter: the gospel Paulhas preached is a revelation of the divine plan that all might bebrought to faith and to worship. Paul's sense of wonder at what Godhas done is never far from the surface in Romans.


To Ponder

  • Although Paul is celebrated as the author of this letter, it isclear from verses 21-23 that other people were involved in itsproduction. How are you able to offer help to others in theirministry? What help do you receive from others in yours?
  • The final verses witness to Paul's sense of excitement aboutwhat God has done in Christ Jesus. As you read the letter, to whatextent did you find your own sense of excitement about the gospelrenewed? You might want to look back at passages that haveparticularly spoken to you of the great things that God hasdone.
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