BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
BIBLE STUDY LESSON
DOES YOUR LIFE SPEAK WELL OF GOD?
(We are to behave in a way that our lives will be a tribute to GOD)
In Romans 15:1-13, Paul expands on the subject that he had already introduced in chapter 14, of living to please others. Our pursuit of righteous living requires us to be able to live a life of love for one another. It means that we must be able to stop judging others, and, at the same time, evaluate how the exercising of our personal freedoms may affect other people’s lives. The strong Christian must be able to tolerate the weak Christian in the interest of building them up.
Paul had already written in chapter 14 how Christians should not condemn, despise, or hinder the conduct of one another. Here in chapter 15, he gives us another principal that we need to observe, while dealing with one another, and that is, that, we must strive to be “imitators” of CHRIST. We must be aware at all times that JESUS was a person WHO always ministered on behalf of others, and as Christians, we need to reflect that image to the world, through our own behavior.
As Paul continues to define the responsibilities of Christians towards one another, he also gives us a wonderful summary of what should characterize, or be the attributes of, the Christian community as a whole. Paul’s idea of a Christian community, is that of a place, where everyone has a strong consideration for the needs of others. It should also be a place that identifies itself by being encouraged by the study of the Scriptures, and, by a desire to incorporate GOD’s word into the everyday lives of its people.
The Christian community should also have a fortitude that is exemplified in the attitude that each individual has towards life, and how they are able to cope with life, in a GODly manner. It is a community that needs to represent to the world, the personification of hope. We should be able to exist in harmony with one another, because, the “CHRIST” in us, is greater than the “world” in us. And finally, we must be in the “Praise Mode”, at all times remembering just WHO we represent in the world, and that is of course, CHRIST JESUS.
After pointing to CHRIST as a model for all Christians, Paul moves on to talk a bit more about JESUS’ ministry and the objectives thereof. First of all, JESUS came to us as a servant. GOD had two objectives to accomplish through JESUS’ mission. The first was to confirm the promise of the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David, for the Jews, and the second was so that the Gentiles may also glorify HIM for HIS mercy.
Those two purposes are now being achieved as Israel, as a nation, has been set aside, and the church is being formed with both Jews and Gentiles all over the world. This will be fulfilled in the future when Israel, once again, will take its place as head of the nations of the earth, and become a blessing to all people. To demonstrate the validity of this claim, Paul goes on to cite four Old Testament passages (read Romans 15:9-12). The significance of these quotations is that they are taken, one from each division of the Old Testament, the Law (Moses), the Prophets (Isaiah), and the Psalms (King David).
There is a progression of thought in these four quotations that we’ll do well not to miss. In the first quotation, David praises GOD among the Gentiles. In the second, Moses exhorts the Gentiles to rejoice with the Jews. In the third, the psalmist commands the Gentiles to praise the LORD. And, in the fourth, Isaiah predicts that the Gentiles will live under the rule of the MESSIAH, and will find hope in HIM.
Our peace results from the assurance that GOD will fulfill all of our hopes. And Paul’s desire was that GOD would fill his readers with the joy and peace that would reign eternal. Only when the surge of CHRIST’s power fills the voids of our human weaknesses, will we, ourselves, be able to overcome this life, just as CHRIST did.
(1). Be responsible to CHRIST JESUS for your conscience, and don’t attempt to
make others responsible for you.
(2). JESUS helped us to establish a pattern of welcome that we must, in turn,
convey to others, all along our Christian walk.
(3). The strong Christian is obligated to take the initiative in the Christian
community, and, in the world. They must consider, at all times, what is most
helpful in building up those who are weak.
(4). Show love and concern by actively reaching out to embrace the weak. That way
you will be able to build a spirit of unity in the Christian congregation.
Pray for continued strength through CHRIST JESUS. The farther you go along your Christian struggle, the MORE you need prayer, not less. Amen.
KEY VERSE: Romans 15:7
DEVOTIONAL PASSAGES: 1 Corinthians 3:15-20, 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, 1 Corinthians 13
A Book by Book Bible Study by,
Larry D. Alexander