In Jesus Christ we find the only hope that sustains us. #hope
Romans 15:9-12 “…and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, ‘Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.’ And again it is said, ‘Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.’ And again, ‘Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him.’ And again Isaiah says, ‘The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.’”
Jesus Christ was much more than a Jewish man. He was more than a Messiah to the Jewish nation. He came to the earth as a man, the Son of David who was the son of Jesse, but His Personhood extends far beyond those earthly robes. It is in these truths that not only the hope of the redeemed Israel lays, but also the hope of every redeemed man, woman, and child who ever lives. Our hope lies in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who put on the flesh of man to save His people, and those people are from every tribe, tongue, and nation. Paul had just said in Romans 15:4 that the Scriptures were given to instruct us and to give us endurance and encouragement. Now, in order to point us toward just those very things, Paul declares that Jesus is the hope of all people, both Jew and Gentile, by quoting four passages from the Old Testament. (Psalm 18:49, Deuteronomy 32:43, Psalm 117:1, and Isaiah 11:10) Jesus is our hope. It is in Him and Him alone that we place our trust for the future. Our jobs, our spouses, our family, our friends, our church—all will disappoint eventually. But in Jesus Christ we find the only hope that sustains us. In Him do we trust.
Study/Meditation: How should a Christian life exemplify ultimate hope in Christ and Christ alone? (Think of specific examples.)
*Father, thank You for redeeming Your people out of every tribe, nation, and tongue. Thank You for redeeming me. Amen.
Our trust in God and His promises find their Yes in Christ. #faith
Romans 15:8 “For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs.”
Doubt is perhaps one of the strongest obstacles in the Christian faith, for if we doubt the promises of God in any way, how can we trust great biblical promises like Jeremiah 29:11 or Romans 8:28? The issue Paul is addressing here is one he has addressed before, and that is the question as to God’s trustworthiness if His promises to Israel were not fulfilled. Did God break His promise to Israel when He chose to include many Gentiles into His family while also choosing to exclude many ethnic Jews? The answer is “no,” as Paul has already answered in Romans 9:6 when he wrote that there is a remnant of the nation of Israel that is the true Israel. How then did God keep His promise to redeem that remnant? The same way He has kept it to redeem all of His people—through the blood of Jesus Christ. Just as Paul wrote in his letter to the Corinthians, “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him (Christ). That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.” (2 Corinthians 1:20) We can trust that God is faithful in all of His promises just as we praise Him for sending His Son to redeem us in order to fulfill them.
Study/Meditation: How important is it that you trust God fully to keep His promises? In what ways has He kept all of them to you and to His entire people?
*Father, You are faithful and just. Thank You for continually confirming Your promises to keep and protect us. You are worthy of all praise and honor! Amen.
Selflessness glorifies God, and that is what we were created for. #joy
Romans 15:5-7 “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”
One of the most succinct and singular tragedies of today’s culture is its propensity to glorify self along with anything and everything trivial and banal. The universe was created for one purpose and for that one purpose alone—to glorify its Creator. Every flower that blooms, every breeze that blows, every mountain that stands in majesty and every child that giggles was created to show how amazing and awe-inspiring is our God. His power and might and grace and mercy and love were meant to be shown in every single thing that exists, but man threatens daily to steal that attention away and make creation about him and his comfort and happiness. The only way any of us will truly know joy and satisfaction in ourselves and with each other is if we live for our created purpose, which is glorifying God. However, the only way we can come to that joyous place is through the very One we seek to glorify. As Paul demonstrates in these two verses, we must pray and ask our Father to grant that which we cannot attain in our own humanity. We seek God and beseech Him to give us hearts that look outside of self and onto others so that we will bring attention and worship to His glory where it rightfully belongs.
Study/Meditation: Read Paul’s closing prayer in his second letter to the church in Thessalonica, 2 Thessalonians 2:13-3:5 and 3:16-18. How does Paul demonstrate this type of prayer?
*Father, give me a heart that turns toward You by seeking the good of others. Forgive me for my selfishness and create in me a clean heart. I glorify You above all, my Lord. Amen.
Christians should meditate on, pray over, and live in the bible daily. #bible
Romans 15:4 “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
So much of Paul’s letter to the Romans in the last two chapters has been about loving and serving one another in Christ. He has just now paused in the previous verse to lift Jesus up as our supreme example of selfless love by quoting Psalm 69:9. Now he pauses further to explain why he refers to the Old Testament in these exhortations, and it is one of the most important verses in all of the bible in regards to the Scriptures and their practical application in our lives. God has given us His very Word so that we will be instructed, so that we will endure, and so that in these things we will have hope. Our Father knows that we will be tried and troubled in these days, and He knows that our endurance in these troubles is paramount to our ability to love one another in patience and kindness. He has then given us example upon example of His faithfulness throughout redemptive history so that we might lean on His promises during our times of tribulation, even when that tribulation is with each other. The bible is our guide, our counsel, and our hope as we live in this world, but we cannot lean on it if we don’t read it. Receive the hope that is ours alone in Christ. Meditate on, pray over, and live in God’s Word every day.
Study/Meditate: Meditate today on examples from Scripture that give you hope. (Suggestions: The story of Joseph, Genesis 37-50; the story of Ruth in the book of Ruth; the story of the fall of Sennacherib and the Assyrians in Isaiah 37)
*Father, thank You for Your Word and for the edification it brings me. I rejoice in You and in Your precepts. Amen.
How can we not love one another in light of our Savior’s sacrifice? #Jesus
Romans 15:3 “For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, ‘The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.’”
It may often be that we don’t truly contemplate the magnitude of Jesus Christ coming to earth to live and die as a man so that we might live. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He willingly left His throne in the heavenly places and put on the garments of humanity for us. He did not do so in order that mankind would laud and magnify Him. He lived a life of poverty by human standards. He was mocked and beaten, shunned and ridiculed, all while doing absolutely nothing wrong. He was despised and rejected by His own kinsmen, the same kinsmen who eventually killed Him in the most despicable and painful way available to them “legally.” His life was anything but one that mankind would think acceptable for a king. Yet He lived it willingly for His children, even though with one word He could have destroyed all of those who tormented Him, lifting Himself high upon the throne that is His and His alone in the universe. He could have taken His rightful seat for all men to see at any moment during His thirty-three years on earth, but He did not. He did not because He was completely “other-centered.” Jesus was completely “us-centered.” May it never be that we look for reasons and excuses not to love and serve our brethren in humility and patience when our Savior did so much more than that for us.
Study/Meditation: Paul quotes Psalm 69:9 in Romans 15:3. Read all of Psalm 69 with Jesus in mind. How does this Davidic psalm speak to you in regards to your Savior?
*Jesus, my Lord and Savior, I magnify Your name. Thank You for living the life of a man so that I might live. You are glorious in all things. Amen.
The church is a diverse family living in one place for God’s glory. #church
Romans 15:1-2 “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.”
After the death of the famous American writer, F. Scott Fitzgerald, his family found in his belongings a collection of unused and potential plot lines for future stories. One of them read: “A widely separated family inherits a house in which they have to live forever.” That’s really the church, isn’t it? We are a widely separated family with countless diversities and differences who are called to live together in one place. Eventually that will be eternity and the differences will be removed, but for now that place is the local church and the differences abound. Paul is continuing to emphasize that as Christians, it is paramount that we live not for ourselves, but for the good of others. We bear with one another in love, never looking toward selfish goals but toward goals that put our fellow brothers and sisters in the center. In so doing, we point even beyond them and toward our Savior and His glory. Paul calls it our “obligation” to be patient and edifying to our brethren, and it is exactly so because we do not live for ourselves but for Christ. We are a collection of very different people at varying levels of sanctification who must live and serve and love with one focus—Jesus Christ. All else doesn’t pale in comparison. All else simply can’t be compared.
Study/Meditation: Read Galatians 1:10. What is the difference between what Paul is saying to the church in Galatia and what he is saying to the church in Rome?
*Father, help me to treat others in the church with You as my focus, not myself. Remind me daily of ways I can build others up and edify them to Your glory. In Christ’s name, Amen.