Tag: joy and peace
Scripture reading for July 3rd: Romans 15
Paul identified himself with those who were ‘strong’ in their faith. He understood the liberty that believers have in Jesus Christ. He also knew that strong believers might become prideful and judgmental, as he had been towards followers of Christ before he was saved. In order to encourage the strong believers, he asked them to bear with the failings of the weaker believers. “Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on Me.” For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance and encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:2-4)
Christ, our example, always sought to please the Father and as a result suffered for it. He was insulted and ridiculed as a ‘friend of tax collectors and sinners‘! Those insults were directed towards Christ and the Father! But Christ was on a mission to save the lost, not condemn them! The Scriptures record the endurance and message of hope that Christ proclaimed in order to help us follow His example. So must we be kind, patient, and encouraging to those who are weaker in their faith. We must accept them as Christ accepted us and cultivate unity and love.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13) It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we are filled with joy and peace through faith in Christ! The Holy Spirit brings a hope that ‘overflows’ into the lives believers encouraging all!
Scripture reading for August 1st: Romans 15:1-22
Paul concludes this letter with another admonition to the strong in faith. They are to bear with the failings of the weak and not just seek to please themselves. Our goal should be to build up our neighbors, not judge them! (Romans 15:1-2) Jesus set the example for us by offering Himself in our place to take the penalty of our sins! What we deserved fell on Him.
God wants His people to dwell together in unity and hope as they follow Christ! (Romans 15:5-6) The Scriptures teach us how to have hope by the stories of God’s miraculous power and by the record of Christ’s example. Jesus prayed for His disciples and those who would follow Him from their ministry. “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You.” (John 17:20-21) Unity is maintained as we walk in the Spirit and allow the Word to dwell in us. We have hope for the future because of the promises of God for those who believe. The best is yet to come!
Both Jew and Gentile must accept one another because Christ accepted them both! “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13) This is the practical benediction to Paul’s letter to this group of Roman believers. What an encouragement it is to them to hear from the Apostle Paul that God is a God of hope! He wants all believers to be filled with joy and peace as they trust in Christ for their every need. As they are filled with the Holy Spirit, the power of God’s hope will bring them encouragement and perseverance through any and all trials.
As you think about this passage today, remind yourself that God is the God of all hope! Hope is not found in our world or it’s leaders. Their promises may or may not come true. But God has the power and ability to make good on His every word! Hope abounds in Our Lord forever!