The Epistle to the Romans closes with a magnificent doxology. It is most appropriate that this wonderful exposition of the gospel ends with praise!
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Paul, usually thought of as a theologian par excellence, had a pastor's heart, and we see in his letters his concern for the Church, and specifically for the local churches to which he writes. That certainly applies to this heartfelt passage from Romans.
This recounting of greetings, typical of letters of Paul's day, is unique in revealing to us insights into the composition of the Church of that day and also insights into Paul's own heart. These in turn provide us today with teaching that helps us to think rightly about the Church.
Paul has concluded his inspired exposition of the gospel and now ends his letter as he began it, with more personal concerns of the church in Rome and himself. From these closing passages of Romans, there are still valuable lessons for us to learn.
These verses conclude the body of Paul's letter to the Romans, and do so with a beautiful benediction. Paul's closing admonitions echo the theme of letter–the gospel of God, which is the power of God for salvation.
We continue a consideration of this important application of truth from Romans.
This text begins a new sub-section of the Letter to the Romans. Although it addresses specifically a situation within the Roman church, the topic has has clear application to churches in every place and every time.
With a climactic clarion call, this section of Romans draws to a close. Paul's words echo down through the years to challenge us to a vision of life that transcends this temporary time by looking to eternal realities.
This is a beautifully stated presentation of a profound truth, and although I did not think that my exposition of it was what it should have been, I am confident that the Scripture is effective regardless of the ineffectiveness of the preacher.
This passage is one of the central texts in the Bible pertaining to civil government. Paul speaks to this topic here primarily from the viewpoint of individual believers living out their faith in daily life.
The calling of Christians to submission to authority as unto God is rooted in the sovereignty of God and his ordering of human life in this present age.
John Calvin says of the key admonition of this passage that no Christian can claim to have perfectly obeyed it, but at the same time no one can claim to be a follower of Christ who does not daily strive to be obedient to it. "Bless your persecutors" echoes Jesus' teaching of the kingdom and describes his life.
From the very personal exhortation to present our bodies as sacrifices in service to God, Paul has moved to a call to use the unique graces that God has given to us for the blessing of his body, the Church. It is not surprising that from encouraging us to use the graces that God has given us for the blessing of the Church we are brought to consider the characteristic of love, since love should be the motivation for ministry to others with the gifts we have received by grace.
This passage is of tremendous importance to a proper understanding of the Church, and has applications for the life of every single believer.
In this text, Paul opens this section of practical application by directing our attention to our thinking, which is the best place for us to begin. In order to live faithfully as disciples of Christ, we first need to think rightly, especially in reference to our relationship with God and with fellow believers.
Paul's superb statement of exhortation to us as followers of Jesus Christ comes to a climax by directing our attention to the goal of our calling–God's will.
Having exhorted us to lives of sacrifice that are our grateful response to the mercies of God, Paul will now begin to describe for us what such lives look like. We might have expected him to begin with specific behaviors, but instead, he will begin with our minds.
At this important transition point in his epistle to the Roman church, Paul provides us with invaluable teaching relating to a matter of importance to every one of us as disciples of Christ: What is it that motivates us to follow him? How do we persevere when the going gets tough? From where do we derive the strength to the sacrifice to which God calls us?
The quotation from C. H. Spurgeon is from his sermon "Laus Deo," which is number 572 in the sermons pages of spurgeongems.org, a web site maintained by Emmett O'Donnell, a godly older man with whom I have corresponded. Mr. O'Donnell has updated older English terms and capitalized pronouns referring to God, but otherwise the sermons are as Spurgeon published them. I never fail to find out if Spurgeon has preached on a sermon text that I am studying. His sermons are a dependable source of devotional encouragement.
Paul is continuing to address the questions raised by Israel's rejection of the gospel. He has shown that this rejection is not total, for God has preserved for himself a remnant who have believed. In these verses, Paul shows that this rejection is not final, either, for God will provoke Israel to jealousy of the Gentiles as a means to draw them into gospel faith that will bless not only them, but Gentile believers as well.