February 9th, 2007
People can be so awkward, complicated and messy. They talk too much, cry too much, are too greedy, too disorganised, too smelly, too grumpy, too selfish. They forget to wipe their feet before coming into the house. They leave hairs on the soap and the lid off the toothpaste tube. They don’t keep their mouths closed when chewing, they forget to say “please” and “thankyou”, and they fail to observe proper etiquette at social functions. When you give them valuable things they waste them and misuse them. They fight each other instead of loving each other. All in all, people are a pretty hopeless lot.
Paul’s Letter to the Romans — Chapter 15
15:1 We who are strong should put up with the weaknesses of the weak, and not just please ourselves. 15:2 Each of us should encourage our neighbours to build them up. 15:3 Even Christ did not please himself. As it is written, “The abuse of those who abused you fell on me.” 15:4 The things which were written in the past were written to teach us, so that we could have hope through patience and the encouragement of the Scriptures. 15:5 May the God of patience and encouragement allow you to be unified in Christ Jesus, 15:6 so that together with one voice you glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
15:7 Accept each other, as Christ accepted us, for the glory of God. 15:8 Christ has become a servant of circumcised people on behalf of God’s truth to confirm the promises given to the forefathers, 15:9 and so that the Gentiles can praise God for his mercy. As it is written, “I will give praise to you amongst the Gentiles, and sing to your name.” 15:10 Again he says, “Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people.” 15:11 Again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles! Let all the peoples praise him.” 15:12 Again, Isaiah says, “There will be the root of Jesse, the one who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him the Gentiles will hope.”
15:13 May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace in believing, so that you overflow with hope in the power of the Holy Spirit. 15:14 I myself am convinced, my friends, that you are full of goodness, well educated, and able to instruct each other. 15:15 I have written to you quite boldly in some respects as a reminder to you, because of the grace that God gave me 15:16 in making me a servant of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, proclaiming the good news of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles can be acceptable, made holy by the Holy Spirit. 15:17 I am proud of the things God has done through me in Christ Jesus. 15:18 I will not try to talk about anything except what Christ has done through me to cause the Gentiles to obey, through my words and actions, 15:19 through the power of signs and wonders in the power of God’s Spirit; so that I have fully proclaimed the good news of Christ from Jerusalem all the way to Illyricum. 15:20 I have aimed to preach the Good News where Christ was unknown, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. 15:21 Instead, as it is written, “The people who were never told about him will see. The people who have not heard will understand.”
15:22 This is why I have frequently been prevented from coming to you, 15:23 but now that I no longer have a place in these regions, and because I have wanted for many years to visit you, 15:24 I will visit you when I travel to Spain. I hope to see you on my travels, and to be assisted on my way by you, after first enjoying your company for a while. 15:25 But now, I am heading for Jerusalem, serving the believers. 15:26 Macedonia and Achaia were happy to make contributions for the poor among the believers in Jerusalem. 15:27 They were happy to do it, and they owe it to them. If the Gentiles have received a share in the Jews’ spiritual things, they owe it to the Jews to share their material things. 15:28 Once I have done this, and made sure that they have received the contributions, I will go to Spain, visiting you on the way. 15:29 I know that when I come, I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ.
15:30 I ask you, friends, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive with me by praying to God for me 15:31 to be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea, and that the work which I am doing for Jerusalem will be acceptable to the believers, 15:32 so that by God’s will I can come to you joyfully and find refreshment with you. 15:33 The God of peace be with you all. Amen.
Entry Filed under: Perseverance