Think like Christ toward one another; Christ works through Paul; and Prayer
The strong believer should help the weak believer understand and outgrow his spiritual weaknesses. All believers, Jew and Gentile, should seek to live in such a way that all may grow in the faith. Christ demonstrated this in his life by pleasing God, not himself. Paul takes a line from Psalm 69.9 to illustrate this and to instruct us to put up with the weakness of another, but God and Paul also want us to grow out of our spiritual weaknesses, doctrinal misunderstandings, and taboos. He then asks that God will give them Christ’s kind of thinking toward one another so all may glorify God. Christ was a servant to both Jews (to confirm the promises to their fathers) and Gentiles (to glorify God for his mercy) and Paul wants Jews and Gentiles to accept each other and serve each other as Christ did. He uses Psalm 18.49, Deuteronomy 32.43, Psalm 117.1, and Isaiah 11.10 to demonstrate that God will accept Gentiles who come to him by faith. He prays that both Jew and Gentile believers will have joy, peace, and hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15.1-13). Paul is confident about the Romans’ relationships with each other, and even though he admonishes them, he commends them for their desire and ability to serve. Regarding his own ministry to the Roman believers and regions beyond, Paul is a priest of the gospel and serves so that his work will be acceptable to God and sanctified by the Holy Spirit. He is only interested in what Christ has done through him for the Gentiles, not what he has done by himself (Romans 15.14-21). He wants to visit them on his way to Spain, but first he must go to Jerusalem to deliver the money that the churches of Macedonia and Asia have collected (Romans 15.22-29). Paul then asks the Roman believers to pray for him in his ministry: for protection, that his service will be acceptable to the believers, and afterward he will have joy and rest when he comes to Rome (Romans 15.30-33).
- Romans 15:1-13. All Jewish and Gentile believers, especially the stronger, should seek to live in such a way that all may grow in the faith and accept each other to God’s glory as Christ demonstrated.
- Romans 15:14-21. Paul’s apostolic ministry does not reflect what Paul has done, but what Christ has accomplished through Paul.
- Romans 15.22-29. Paul plans on visiting the Romans on his way to Spain, but he must first take a contribution to Jerusalem.
- Romans 15.30-33. Paul asks the Romans to pray for his Jerusalem trip and for his trip to Rome.
So What Application
- Remember the doctrine of doubtful things for weaker and stronger believers, for Jews and Gentiles, that Paul taught them in Romans 14. The strong believer should help the weak believer so that the weaker and stronger may grow and glorify God.
- Jewish and Gentile believers are to accept each other to God’s glory, and should demonstrate grace to each other, even if they are weak and confused.
- Our Christian service centers on Christ working through us, not what we do ourselves.
- Paul’s pattern of prayer for those in speaking ministries should include prayer for protection, prayer that the service will be acceptable to the believers, and that afterward God’s messenger may will reap joy and rest.
- Doubtful things
- Relationships among believers
- Promises to the Hebrew fathers and Mercy to the Gentiles
- Faith life
- Joy, peace, and hope
- Spiritual growth
- Spiritual gifts
- Ministry and spiritual production
- Apostles’ authenticating spiritual abilities
- Prayer for those in speaking ministry