Romans 15

* Directions how to behave towards the weak. (1-7) All to

receive one another as brethren. (8-13) The writing and

preaching of the apostle. (14-21) His purposed journeys. (22-29)

He requests their prayers. (30-33)

1-7 Christian liberty was allowed, not for our pleasure, but

for the glory of God, and the good of others. We must please our

neighbour, for the good of his soul; not by serving his wicked

will, and humouring him in a sinful way; if we thus seek to

please men, we are not the servants of Christ. Christ's whole

life was a self-denying, self-displeasing life. And he is the

most advanced Christian, who is the most conformed to Christ.

Considering his spotless purity and holiness, nothing could be

more contrary to him, than to be made sin and a curse for us,

and to have the reproaches of God fall upon him; the just for

the unjust. He bore the guilt of sin, and the curse for it; we

are only called to bear a little of the trouble of it. He bore

the presumptuous sins of the wicked; we are called only to bear

the failings of the weak. And should not we be humble,

self-denying, and ready to consider one another, who are members

one of another? The Scriptures are written for our use and

benefit, as much as for those to whom they were first given.

Those are most learned who are most mighty in the Scriptures.

That comfort which springs from the word of God, is the surest

and sweetest, and the greatest stay to hope. The Spirit as a

Comforter, is the earnest of our inheritance. This

like-mindedness must be according to the precept of Christ,

according to his pattern and example. It is the gift of God; and

a precious gift it is, for which we must earnestly seek unto

him. Our Divine Master invites his disciples, and encourages

them by showing himself as meek and lowly in spirit. The same

disposition ought to mark the conduct of his servants,

especially of the strong towards the weak. The great end in all

our actions must be, that God may be glorified; nothing more

forwards this, than the mutual love and kindness of those who

profess religion. Those that agree in Christ may well agree

among themselves.
8-13 Christ fulfilled the prophecies and promises relating to

the Jews, and the Gentile converts could have no excuse for

despising them. The Gentiles, being brought into the church, are

companions in patience and tribulation. They should praise God.

Calling upon all the nations to praise the Lord, shows that they

shall have knowledge of him. We shall never seek to Christ till

we trust in him. And the whole plan of redemption is suited to

reconcile us to one another, as well as to our gracious God, so

that an abiding hope of eternal life, through the sanctifying

and comforting power of the Holy Spirit, may be attained. Our

own power will never reach this; therefore where this hope is,

and is abounding, the blessed Spirit must have all the glory.

"All joy and peace;" all sorts of true joy and peace, so as to

suppress doubts and fears, through the powerful working of the

Holy Spirit.
14-21 The apostle was persuaded that the Roman Christians were

filled with a kind and affectionate spirit, as well as with

knowledge. He had written to remind them of their duties and

their dangers, because God had appointed him the minister of

Christ to the Gentiles. Paul preached to them; but what made

them sacrifices to God, was, their sanctification; not his work,

but the work of the Holy Ghost: unholy things can never be

pleasing to the holy God. The conversion of souls pertains unto

God; therefore it is the matter of Paul's glorying, not the

things of the flesh. But though a great preacher, he could not

make one soul obedient, further than the Spirit of God

accompanied his labours. He principally sought the good of those

that sat in darkness. Whatever good we do, it is Christ who does

it by us.
22-29 The apostle sought the things of Christ more than his own

will, and would not leave his work of planting churches to go to

Rome. It concerns all to do that first which is most needful. We

must not take it ill if our friends prefer work which is

pleasing to God, before visits and compliments, which may please

us. It is justly expected from all Christians, that they should

promote every good work, especially that blessed work, the

conversion of souls. Christian society is a heaven upon earth,

an earnest of our gathering together unto Christ at the great

day. Yet it is but partial, compared with our communion with

Christ; for that only will satisfy the soul. The apostle was

going to Jerusalem, as the messenger of charity. God loves a

cheerful giver. Every thing that passes between Christians

should be a proof and instance of the union they have in Jesus

Christ. The Gentiles received the gospel of salvation from the

Jews; therefore were bound to minister to them in what was

needed for the body. Concerning what he expected from them he

speaks doubtfully; but concerning what he expected from God he

speaks confidently. We cannot expect too little from man, nor

too much from God. And how delightful and advantageous it is to

have the gospel with the fulness of its blessings! What

wonderful and happy effects does it produce, when attended with

the power of the Spirit!
30-33 Let us learn to value the effectual fervent prayers of

the righteous. How careful should we be, lest we forfeit our

interest in the love and prayers of God's praying people! If we

have experienced the Spirit's love, let us not be wanting in

this office of kindness for others. Those that would prevail in

prayer, must strive in prayer. Those who beg the prayers of

others, must not neglect to pray for themselves. And though

Christ knows our state and wants perfectly, he will know them

from us. As God must be sought, for restraining the ill-will of

our enemies, so also for preserving and increasing the good-will

of our friends. All our joy depends upon the will of God. Let us

be earnest in prayer with and for each other, that for Christ's

sake, and by the love of the Holy Spirit, great blessings may

come upon the souls of Christians, and the labours of ministers.
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