Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Romans 15 : 5 – 9
“For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.” Romans 15: 8 – 9.
The epistle to the Romans, written by St, Paul to the Christians in Rome, is an attempt to explain the meaning of the Gospel – that the salvation is not the result of moral goodness, but solely based on our faith in what Jesus has accomplished through His atoning death on the cross. All mankind, both Jews and Gentiles, needs to be put right with God, for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. People are put to right with God through faith in God.
The passage we meditate today (Romans 15: 5 -9) exhorts us to lead a life of fellowship with each other and share the goodness of salvation. St. Paul here writes about how the Christian life should be lived, about the way of fellowship and love in relationship with others. We can learn the following from this passage which will help us to grow in our faith journey:
1. Christians are to live in Harmony and Unity – Romans 15: 5 -7
“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”
This is a prayer directed to the God of endurance and encouragement. The above passage comes at the end of a section that deals with divisions in the church between strong and weak, between Jew and Gentile, in both groups. To show the Romans that each should not try to please himself/herself, he pointed to the example of Lord Jesus Christ, who went to the cross to bear the sins of humanity. In looking at Christ's life and actions as explained in Scripture, we should learn to live in hope through the patience and encouragement so gained. Today we live in a cruel world of strife, war, hatred, selfishness, indifference, striving to annihilate one another etc. There is no peace in the society and in the families. In fact, Jesus has taught us to be merciful, reconcile with those who have wronged to us, love our enemies and our neighbor, and lead a life of harmony and unity.
He, therefore, finishes with an exhortation – receive each other for the glory of God and he gives a reason, because Christ also received us for that purpose. As Mary went to the hill country in Judah and met her cousin Elizabeth, the two pregnant women of faith, welcomed and received each other, rejoiced and shared the goodness of Salvation that is going to be fulfilled through their committed lives. Christ received us while we were sinners through faith in Him for the glory of God. Therefore, we should receive each other as well, for we have all been cleansed in Christ's blood, so that we can do what we were created and united for the glory of God. That is the purpose of our lives, not only individually, but also as congregations and as churches. The unity we have in Christ must come to expression to the glory of God. When we bicker and fight often about non-essential things, we do not worship God with one mind and one mouth. God is glorified by unity which is according to Christ Jesus, that has Him as its standard and measure. Then our praise of God is acceptable to Him. Let us strive to achieve that goal with joy and patience. Where do we stand today in our spiritual journey? Are we able to live in harmony with one another in perfect accord with Christ Jesus? If not, let us strive to achieve the goal of living in harmony and unity, so that God’s name is glorified.
2. Christians are to glorify God for His Mercy (Romans 15: 8-9)
The first thing we should notice in this passage is that Christ became a servant. Jesus did not come as an authoritarian king, although some of His followers wanted that. Some wanted Jesus to overthrow the Roman government and establish a Jewish kingdom again. That was not Jesus’ mission when He came to this world. Jesus left the glories of heaven and all that was His in order to humble Himself as a lowly servant and endure the punishment and death of a criminal. Jesus put aside His rights and elevated position because He loved the world so much and redeemed the lost world for His Father God. This was all done to fulfill God’s plan of salvation for mankind. It was done to please the will of God the Father. Romans chapter 12: 1 says “ So then, my brothers, because of God’s great mercy to us, I appeal to you : Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him.” Jesus Christ is God’s Mercy towards mankind. Are we willing to follow Jesus’ example and put aside our freedom for the greater good of others? Are you willing to become a servant to others, rather than getting served and glorify God for redeeming us by His mercy towards mankind?
3. Christ is God’s promised Messiah to save the world.
Jesus Christ, apart from being the greatest example of humble servanthood and Mercy of God, is also God’s promised Messiah to redeem the world. St. Paul here emphasizes God’s plan to save the Gentiles along with the Jews. Jesus’ mission was to save both Jews and Gentiles, for the glory of God. Romans chapter 15 verses eight through twelve, St. Paul quotes from the Old Testament in order to show God’s truthfulness and faithfulness. Paul wrote in this passage that Jesus’ mission was to confirm and fulfill the promises God made to the Jewish people long ago. He never lies (Titus 1:2). In Christ, the promise of God in the Old Testament that he would send a Messiah to save mankind, has been fulfilled. Acts 4:12 says “And there is Salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Let us commit ourselves once again during this Advent season to lead a life of harmony and unity in Christ Jesus, emulate the humble servanthood of our Lord, share the joy of salvation among the community we live in, and produce the fruits of the Spirit. Thank you Lord for your mercy through Jesus Christ, praise Him for loving us providing the hope of salvation, joy and goodness to both Jews and Gentiles.
Father God, we thank you for bringing us to the Advent season once again. Help us to lead a life of harmony and unity among each other in accord with Jesus Christ, and glorify your holy name through our day-to-day life and actions,
Thought for the Day
"How can we share the goodness of salvation with others?
The Mar Thoma Church Staten Island