Paul (Hebrew name: Saul) was an apostle of Jesus Christ and the author of most of the New Testament.
As Paul deals with the issue of the “weaker” brother, he makes an important point about unity and the power of the Holy Spirit at work in all believers. Unity is not something that can be imposed from the outside or the top down. Unity is a work of the Holy Spirit bringing individuals together through their shared faith.
As a new believer, I thought the Holy Spirit was like the “force” in Star Wars: something I had to access to find success. Paul has a different view in this passage. The Holy Spirit is the active love of God intervening to make us people who will persevere in faith.
Compare Romans 16, Paul’s conclusion of his letter to the Christians in Rome, to a high school yearbook. During the high school years, we are supposed to learn skills, knowledge, and an approach to life that will get us launched into adulthood. The book of Romans also records truths that should be foundational building blocks for life, the essentials upon which we ought to build our lives. The high school yearbook is the history of the events, ideas, and accomplishments that took place during the year, but it also contains a collection of handwritten names, greetings, memories, and thoughts about life. We find at the end of the book of Romans some very personal words, too.
Paul closes Romans as he began, with a personal word about himself and the church in Rome. Reflecting on his life so far and where God will take him next, Paul discusses two themes: 1) the situation of church at Rome, and 2) the future of his ministry. As you study Romans 15, you might want to compare what Paul says to your own church and ministry.
Have you ever noticed, how much easier it is much easier to destroy something beautiful and worthy than to build it? Building up and tearing down is at the heart of Romans 14-15. Paul’s going to encourage us to build each other up and remind us that this building takes a lot longer to accomplish, than does tearing down.
The issue Romans 14 concerns one of our favorite sports: How and when should Christians meddle in each other’s lives?
In Romans 13:8-14, Paul explains what it means to be able to live as people who are free to love one another and free of self-recrimination, guilt, uncertainty, or doubt. The passage speaks of freedom from debt and freedom from darkness.
In Romans 13, Paul continues in his application of how we should live in light of the gospel. In this often-discussed and debated passage, he explains how to be good citizens: submission, fearlessness and conscience.
In part, Romans 9-11 is an explanation of how people can be caught in spiritual pride and how the advantages of knowing about God and His truth can be twisted into something that actually drives us away from God.