14And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. (15) Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God, (16) That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.Romans 15:14-16
Paul was sincerely concerned about describing his true motives for writing this letter to the church at Rome. It was a church that he did not start, and had never met face to face. At the end or writing such a substantial, bold and direct letter to them he wanted them to know his heart for them and his calling from God to them.
He makes a statement in verse 14 about His belief about God’s working in them. He says that he was confident that they were full of goodness, filled with knowledge, and able to admonish one another. This is language that emcompasses a broad and deep understanding of spiritual maturity. They valued things that were good. They understood and valued the Word of God that they had. They used their valuing of what is good, and their knowledge of the Word of God to encourage the good and discourage the bad in one another.
He goes on to say that even though he believes this about them, he has written them this bold letter because of God’s calling and grace in his life. Their church was a gentile church, and God had called Paul to be the apostle to the gentiles. In sending them this letter He was being obedient to God in helping to encourage and build up the gentiles in this church and thereby glorify and honor God.
I’m struck by the threefold description of those in this church. I propose three application questions that are driven by this description:
1. Do I properly value and exhibit goodness?
2. Am I growing in my knowledge of God’s wisdom and knowledge?
3. Am I in relationships where calling out sin and encouraging one another happens?
Also, I think Paul balances the perceptions of the people here with the authority with which he speaks to them. He understands how he could be taken, but also gives them the reason why he risks that perception. He was living out His calling from God. This is the kind of courage and discernment we must exhibit as people who are disciples of Jesus Christ.
Which of the three questions above is the most critical for me to work on in my life?