Chapter 15, The Study
Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God."

J. Deering,

Romans 15

Self-denial on Behalf of Others

Issues through the last two chapters have been related to the division of Christians depending upon whether they were Jews or Gentiles. Chapter 14 was related to those Jews who could not understand Gentiles, or other Jews, who bought and ate meat from pagan temples. Jews now living in Gentile cities did not have access to Jewish temple sacrificial meat. That being the case they were faced with the decision to either afford to purchase Gentile pagan sacrificial meats or not eat meat at all.

Apparently butchered meat, direct from the farmer, was prohibitively pricy. For most, on those temple meats were cheap enough to purchase if you were able to buy meat at all.

Paul says that the “weak” were the Jews who chose to not eat meat at all rather than purchase and eat pagan sacrificial meat. There may have been, in fact, Gentiles who were under Jewish influence and saw pagan sacrificial meats as a problem.

Paul says that the “strong” were both Jews and Gentiles to whom it did not matter what the source of the meat was – it was affordable, and thus they bought it and ate it, after all it was Peter who had the vision that all things were clean that God called clean (there are no other gods).

 1 Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of (A) those without strength and not just please ourselves.

The Strong (those who properly understood God’s word to the extent that it did not matter to them is their meat was offered to non-existent idols or not.)

These Strong ones were to “bear the weaknesses of those without strength.” So then, therefore, those who were able to eat pagan sacrificial meats were the "strong" ones, those who would not were seen as the "weak."

So then it is not a matter of Gentile VS Jewish Christian preference. It is, in fact, an issue of understanding what God has said VS what I want to believe; and then supporting and bearing up those who do not.

 2 Each of us is to (B) please his neighbor for his good, to his (C) edification.

Neighbor is used here as fellow believers (context of the whole conversation is based on Jewish and Gentile believers).
Paul states that what is right and good is that above all else – we do what is pleasing to our neighbor FOR HIS GOOD, TO HIS EDIFICATION.
Paul says this without taking a side as to which should please his neighbor – no matter what side of any issue the message is the same – “Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification.” Each of us building the other up without regard to the issue at hand.

 3 For even (D) Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, "(E) THE REPROACHES OF THOSE WHO REPROACHED YOU FELL ON ME."

Christ did not please Himself – His purpose was to have the reproach of the whole world dumped upon him – that it may be for your good, and to your edification. He, therefore, is our example for how we are to care for our fellow believers. We are to take the offense that they present and place it upon our selves in such a way that they – the offensive ones – go free, and not just free, but knowing what we have done is for their good and to their edification, or building up.

 4 For (F) whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

The Prophets, the Law, the Poetics, the Writings – all for your instruction, so that by means of your perseverance in knowing these things and constantly practicing these things, and the encouragement of the Scriptures themselves, that WE MIGHT HAVE HOPE.
The ought to be the Key Verse for the study of all of Scripture and the practice of all of life. The Scriptures – through Perseverance with them and Encouragement from them, might give us HOPE.

 5 Now may the (G) God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you (H) to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus,

Don’t loose track on what Paul is saying here. It is GOD who wrote the Scriptures and it is GOD who wrote them to produce perseverance and encouragement resulting in Hope – It is this God who is able, by this process, to place into every believer, the very mind of Christ. So much so…

 6 so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify (I) the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Those of us who know the word and are strong in it – its restrictions and its liberty, and those of us who are weak and find difficulties in every area of the lives of others – are the intended recipients of the very mind of Christ and the process of getting that mind of Christ is to uplift, please, and edify each other, so that the result would be – UNITY IN CHRIST. Bearing the suffering of each other so that the other would go free.

 7 Therefore, (J) accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.

No Comment!

Some words to the Gentiles

 8 For I say that Christ has become a servant to (K) the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm (L) the promises given to the fathers,

Christ has become a servant to the Jew,
on behalf of the truth of God,
in order to prove the promises given to the Fathers of the faith.

Once again we visit the Upper Room. A room full of pious Jews. It is there that we find the God of the Universe, stripped down with a towel and a bowl of water, cleansing the dirty feet of men. Why?

Paul says, “in order to prove the promises given to the Fathers of the faith.”

What Promises?

“I AM, the God of Salvation.” “I AM, God With Us.” If God had not become a servant – to the Jew first, and then to the Gentile – THERE WOULD BE NO SALVATION. It was God who humbled Himself and took upon Himself our sin and sins, paid the price for them through hard labor and suffering, and FORGAVE – so that there would be the fulfillment of the desires of the heart of God in the salvation of man.

 9 and for (M) the Gentiles to (N) glorify God for His mercy; as it is written,
 10 Again he says,
 11 And again,
 12 Again Isaiah says,

Gentiles, second half of the story, right from the beginning, always in the plan, once invisible – now visible.

Rejoice, it’s not just a plan for the Jews – but instead a plan that was for all those who lived before the Jew, all those who lived during the Jew who were not Jewish, and all those who lived since Jesus Christ, Jew or Gentile – REJOICE – in Christ there is HOPE

 13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all (U) joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope (V) by the power of the Holy Spirit.

This sound like a benediction but the end of the story is no where in sight. Paul just states it out loud – May the God of HOPE FILL YOU WITH ALL JOY AND PEACE IN BELIEVING, so that you will ABOUND IN HOPE, by the POWER of the HOLY SPIRIT! – You ARE THE PLAN!

 14 And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of (W) goodness, filled with (X) all knowledge and able also to admonish one another.

Paul’s not saying we’re “good,” he‘s building on his theme that we are able through encouragement and perseverance in the Word of God, we are able to act good, be filled with knowledge from God through His Holy Spirit, be able to admonish one another to the building up of each other in UNITY.

 15But I have written very boldly to you on some points so as to remind you again, because of (Y) the grace that was given me from God, 16 to be (Z) a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the (AA) gospel of God, so that my (AB) offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

Just like the visit to the boss’s office. You go in and get a “Pat on the Back,” for being such a good employee, a “kick in the pants,” because you haven’t been a good employee, and a “lump of sugar for your pocket,” to encourage you towards being a good employee.

Paul says, “Welcome into my office, Romans. I’ve been speaking harshly to you because it is my place as your boss to do that. The result of our little talks will be that your future performance will be sanctified by the Holy Spirit, and your efforts will be acceptable.”

 17 Therefore in Christ Jesus I have found (AC) reason for boasting in (AD) things pertaining to God.

This is an amazing statement. Paul has found a reason to boast to God. That reason is that In Christ Jesus there are the only reasons to boast.

 18 For I will not presume to speak of anything except what (AE) Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed, 19 in the power of (AF) signs and wonders, (AG) in the power of the Spirit; so that (AH) from Jerusalem and round about as (AI) far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. 20 And thus I aspired to (AJ) preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, (AK) so that I would not build on another man's foundation; 21 but as it is written,

The Gentiles have come to faith by me IN CHRIST JESUS, THROUGH CHRIST JESUS. God sent me out into the world where no others have gone and won the Gentiles – God has fulfilled Scripture through me IN CHRIST JESUS!

 22 For this reason (AM) I have often been prevented from coming to you;

So, if you’ve been wondering where I’ve been … I’ve been taking CHRIST JESUS to the Gentiles, as He asked me to, and we’ve been busy doing that!

 23 but now, with no further place for me in these regions, and since I (AN) have had for many years a longing to come to you 24 whenever I (AO) go to Spain--for I hope to see you in passing, and to be (AP) helped on my way there by you, when I have first (AQ) enjoyed your company for a while--

Now it seems that God is done with me (although Paul’s idea was short-lived) I’ll have time to visit.

 25 but now, (AR) I am going to Jerusalem (AS) serving the saints.
 26 For (AT) Macedonia and (AU) Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. 27 Yes, they were pleased to do so, and they are indebted to them. For (AV) if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things. 28 Therefore, when I have finished this, and (AW) have put my seal on this fruit of theirs, I will (AX) go on by way of you to Spain. 29 I know that when (AY) I come to you, I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ. 30Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by (AZ) the love of the Spirit, to (BA) strive together with me in your prayers to God for me, 31 that I may be (BB) rescued from those who are disobedient in Judea (unbelieving Jews), and that my (BC) service for Jerusalem may prove acceptable to the (BD) saints; 32 so that (BE) I may come to you in joy by (BF) the will of God and find refreshing rest in your company.

Just doesn’t seem like he’s quite done yet!

 33 Now (BG) the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Cross references:

  1. Romans 15:1 : Rom 14:1; Gal 6:2; 1 Thess 5:14
  2. Romans 15:2 : 1 Cor 9:22; 10:24, 33; 2 Cor 13:9
  3. Romans 15:2 : Rom 14:19; 1 Cor 10:23; 14:3, 26; 2 Cor 12:19; Eph 4:12, 29
  4. Romans 15:3 : 2 Cor 8:9
  5. Romans 15:3 : Ps 69:9
  6. Romans 15:4 : Rom 4:23; 2 Tim 3:16
  7. Romans 15:5 : 2 Cor 1:3
  8. Romans 15:5 : Rom 12:16
  9. Romans 15:6 : Rev 1:6
  10. Romans 15:7 : Rom 14:1
  11. Romans 15:8 : Matt 15:24; Acts 3:26
  12. Romans 15:8 : Rom 4:16; 2 Cor 1:20
  13. Romans 15:9 : Rom 3:29; 11:30
  14. Romans 15:9 : Matt 9:8
  15. Romans 15:9 : 2 Sam 22:50; Ps 18:49
  16. Romans 15:10 : Deut 32:43
  17. Romans 15:11 : Ps 117:1
  18. Romans 15:12 : Is 11:10
  19. Romans 15:12 : Rev 5:5; 22:16
  20. Romans 15:12 : Matt 12:21
  21. Romans 15:13 : Rom 14:17
  22. Romans 15:13 : Rom 15:19; 1 Cor 2:4; 1 Thess 1:5
  23. Romans 15:14 : Eph 5:9; 2 Thess 1:11
  24. Romans 15:14 : 1 Cor 1:5; 8:1, 7, 10; 12:8; 13:2
  25. Romans 15:15 : Rom 12:3
  26. Romans 15:16 : Acts 9:15; Rom 11:13
  27. Romans 15:16 : Rom 1:1; 15:19, 20
  28. Romans 15:16 : Rom 12:1; Eph 5:2; Phil 2:17
  29. Romans 15:17 : Phil 3:3
  30. Romans 15:17 : Heb 2:17; 5:1
  31. Romans 15:18 : Acts 15:12; 21:19; Rom 1:5; 2 Cor 3:5
  32. Romans 15:19 : John 4:48
  33. Romans 15:19 : Rom 15:13; 1 Cor 2:4; 1 Thess 1:5
  34. Romans 15:19 : Acts 22:17-21
  35. Romans 15:19 : Acts 20:1
  36. Romans 15:20 : Rom 1:15; 10:15; 15:16
  37. Romans 15:20 : 1 Cor 3:10; 2 Cor 10:15
  38. Romans 15:21 : Is 52:15
  39. Romans 15:22 : Rom 1:13; 1 Thess 2:18
  40. Romans 15:23 : Acts 19:21; Rom 1:10; 15:29, 32
  41. Romans 15:24 : Rom 15:28
  42. Romans 15:24 : Acts 15:3
  43. Romans 15:24 : Rom 1:12
  44. Romans 15:25 : Acts 19:21
  45. Romans 15:25 : Acts 24:17
  46. Romans 15:26 : Acts 16:9; 1 Cor 16:5; 2 Cor 1:16; 2:13; 7:5; 8:1; 9:2, 4; 11:9; Phil 4:15; 1 Thess 1:7; 4:10; 1 Tim 1:3
  47. Romans 15:26 : Acts 18:12; 19:21
  48. Romans 15:27 : 1 Cor 9:11
  49. Romans 15:28 : John 3:33
  50. Romans 15:28 : Rom 15:24
  51. Romans 15:29 : Acts 19:21; Rom 1:10; 15:23, 32
  52. Romans 15:30 : Gal 5:22; Col 1:8
  53. Romans 15:30 : 2 Cor 1:11; Col 4:12
  54. Romans 15:31 : 2 Cor 1:10; 2 Thess 3:2; 2 Tim 3:11; 4:17
  55. Romans 15:31 : Rom 15:25; 2 Cor 8:4; 9:1
  56. Romans 15:31 : Acts 9:13, 15
  57. Romans 15:32 : Rom 15:23
  58. Romans 15:32 : Acts 18:21; Rom 1:10
  59. Romans 15:33 : Rom 16:20; 2 Cor 13:11; Phil 4:9; 1 Thess 5:23; 2 Thess 3:16; Heb 13:20

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