Chapter 15

Follow the Example of Christ: (Romans 15:1-13) 
Paul continues the theme he began in chapter 14 here. He wants us to be careful not to hinder the spiritual growth of other believers.  Faith in Christ does not produce selfishness, but rather a desire to do good to others. Those who are strong in the faith must consider those who are weak. Believers should desire to do  good to others (15:1-2). Christ gave up his own right, so that salvation might come to us. It was the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.  Christ’s ministry was sacrificial and impartial. Here Paul quotes from psalm 69:9. Christ did not exercise his freedom, but he obeyed the Father. The scripture is given to instruct us that through endurance and encouragement we might have hope. The Old Testament was written so that "We might have hope" (Romans 15:4). In fact the whole Bible is primarily a message of hope. This hope motivates us to live in harmony,  glorifying God. The Christian hope is the confidence that God's promises will be fulfilled. Christ came to give hope to Jews as well as to the Gentiles. It was the fulfillment of God’s promise to fathers that the  “The Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy”.  Paul establishes this fact by quoting a series of quotations from the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 32:43;  Isaiah 11:10). King David included gentiles in the blessings of God (Psalms 117:1). Though there are differences between Jews and Gentiles, their common bond is faith in Jesus Christ. God always desired to bring gentiles into his kingdom to show them his mercy and be glorified (Romans 15:8-12). Thus Paul indicates that Gentiles and Jews will be included in the family of God.  Paul concludes his exhortation with a prayer. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope" (Romans 15:13).  When you accept Jesus Christ into your life, God gives you a new identity and hope.  With that hope you receive the Holy Spirit to empower you to face challenges in life. God has not left you to face life in your strength. This hope goes beyond the grave.  The hope the world offers is cheap and worthless in comparison to knowing Christ. This hope is what strengthens the church to become a harmonious and worshipful community.  Only Christ could bring unity and peace among believers.

Paul Planned to Visit Rome: (Romans 15:14-33)
Paul was an apostle and the minister of the gospel (Romans 15:15; 1 Corinthians 15:10). There are four aspects to his ministry. He is a minister of Jesus Christ. Secondly his ministry was by the power of the Holy Spirit. Thirdly his ministry was purposeful. Fourthly his ministry was  prayerful. In the ministry of the gospel, prayer is a primary key to success. Since Paul is an apostle to the Gentiles, he wanted to preach the gospel in Rome.  He considered it as a priestly ministry acceptable to God. Paul takes no credit for the ministry but gives all the praise to God. His ministry was such that he wanted to minister where nobody ever preached the gospel. Paul’s pioneering ministry hindered him from visiting Rome. Now he is planning to go to Spain. Since Rome was on his way, Paul desired to stop over at Rome which was his lifelong desire.  Paul knew that it would be of mutual benefit for both Roman believers and Paul himself.  Paul longed to be refreshed and encouraged by their fellowship.  But before visiting Rome, Paul wanted to go to Jerusalem to deliver the voluntary gift from Gentile churches. In fact Greek churches owe it to them for the spiritual blessings they received from Jewish Christians. Paul was optimistic that he would visit Rome in the fullness of the blessing of Christ (15:29). But he arrived in Rome in chains. From Rome Paul wrote all his four prison epistles. Even today the believers are greatly blessed by these epistles. Paul closes this chapter with an appeal for prayer support for the ministry of the gospel. Also Jewish believers might accept the gift from gentile churches.  Prayer is key to the success of any ministry (Romans15:30). Paul was aware of the danger he would face in Jerusalem. He trusted God to provide grace in difficulties. Paul was confident that God will provide peace and courage to face whatever challenge may come (15:32-33).  Paul closes the chapter with prayer and with benediction.  The Christians should make prayer a vital part in life. ‚Äč