Tuesday 04 March 2014

Bible Book:

“Christ did not please himself” (v.3)

Romans 15:1-13 Tuesday 4 March 2014


Yesterday (link), we heard Paul pleading withthe Christians in Rome to respect the scruples that some of themhad. Today, he explores why they should and in doing so brings usback to one of the central themes of the epistle.

The reason Christians put concern for others ahead of concernfor themselves is simple - it is Christ like. Paul offers both anegative and a positive way of looking at this. Negatively,Christ's attitude was one of self-sacrifice in fulfilment of theprophecies implied in Psalm69, which Paul quotes in verse 3. Positively, the key word is"welcome" (v. 7) which other translations render as 'accept' or'receive'. As Christ accepted them, so the Romans are to accepteach other.

The work of Christ in receiving is for both Jews and Gentiles(non Jews). Paul uses a series of Bible quotations to support hisunderstanding of what God has done in Christ. The quotations aretaken from every section of the Hebrew Bible - from the Torah(verse 10, Deuteronomy 32:43), the Writings (verse 11, Psalms117:1), and the Prophets (verse 12, Isaiah11:10). This demonstrates the truth of his earlier assertionthat all Scripture "was written for our instruction" (v. 4).

Paul encourages his hearers to listen to the prophecies ofScripture to be strengthened in their hope. The harmony that hehopes to see in the Church is a sign of God's glory; that glorywill be fully seen in the union of both Jews and Gentiles inChrist's kingdom. The work of the Holy Spirit is to give theChristians joy and peace in their faith now as they experience ananticipation of the fullness of God's glory, and to maintain themin hope for the day when all God's promises are fulfilled.

To Ponder

  • There is much discussion of what makes a 'welcoming church'. Inwhat practical ways can we imitate Christ in receiving visitors orrespecting each other in our churches?
  • Paul prays (verses 5-6) that the Romans might live in harmonyand with one voice glorify God. He understands the unity of theChurch as a fact rather than as something to be achieved. How canwe welcome other Christians as an act of hope in a united future?In what ways can we not yet share with members of otherchurches?
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