The Way - Day 122 (Romans 15)

Daily Reading:
Romans 15
Don't forget to journal in your Foundations Book!
Daily Reading Audio Commentary:
Today's Question or Action Step:
Read verse 4 aloud. How have the Hebrew Scriptures given you hope? Which Old Testament stories and truths have been most impactful in strengthening your hope in God?
Weekly Memory Verse(s):
OPTION 1: Psalm 42:1-2
OPTION 2: Proverbs 17:27-28
OPTION 3: Matthew 6:3-4
Further Study Resources:
Study Guide for Romans 15 (Enduring Word - David Guzik)
Pastor Tom's Journal on Today's Reading:
Romans 15
Since the twelfth chapter of Romans, Paul has been providing insight to his readers in Rome concerning the transformation which occurs following repentance and faith in Jesus Christ (explained in Romans 1-11). Serving God with spiritual gifts (12:3-8), having right behavior (12:9-21), submitting to government authority (13:1-7), loving others (13:8-10), resisting the flesh while submitting to God (13:11-14), and finding unity amongst diversity (14:1-23) were the main characteristics of those whose faith is genuine. Although these attitudes and actions do not change instantaneously, the believer should allow the word of God to transform his thinking (12:1-2) while the Holy Spirit empowers him to follow God's ways (8:4). This process of resisting sin and living in daily obedience to God is called sanctification, which Paul discussed in detail in Romans 6:1-8:39.

In Romans 14, Paul had commanded them to set aside their differences in traditions and backgrounds so they could love God and love others in unity. Believers have a tendency to emphasize that which is non-essential and ignore those things which unify them, so Paul was calling the more mature believers to embrace the less mature believers for the sake of unity. Paul continues this theme into Romans 15 when he writes, "We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples [weaknesses] of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification" (15:1-2). The goal in Christian relationships is not to tear down each other, but to support and strengthen one another. This means that sometimes more mature Christians must set aside their freedoms in order to find unity with those who are weak in the faith. Even Jesus Christ gave us example by setting aside His freedoms in order to do the will of God (15:3). Although sacrificing freedom takes patience and endurance, Paul declares that the end result will be that believers "may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God" (15:6-7). Referring to the Old Testament Scriptures, Paul reveals that God's heart has always been to bring Jews and Gentiles together in unity, even though they are different (15:8-12). How can unity be accomplished? Instead of finding what makes us distinct, we must find commonality through faith in Jesus Christ (15:13).

Paul concludes his teaching on the characteristics of those who have been declared righteous (Romans 12:1-15:13) and now begins to close his letter to the Christians at Rome by explaining his motives in writing (15:14-16:27). Mainly, Paul wrote to the believers at Rome to strengthen them in their faith and to make the gospel known to the Gentiles (15:14-21).
Although Paul had not been able to personally visit the Christians in Rome at the time of this writing, he wanted them to know that he desired to see them soon (15:22-24). In the meantime, he would return to Jerusalem to deliver the financial gift given to the church which was collected in Macedonia and Achaia (15:25-26). It was their way of expressing gratitude for the Jews sending the gospel to the Gentiles (15:27-28a). Paul asked the believers at Rome to pray for him (15:30) that he " may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you" (15:31-32).

Dear God, help me to do everything I can to bring unity to the church so that You might be glorified.