The Living Word for week up to Sunday, December 24, 2017: Part 4 of 5
Thursday, Dec 21: Romans 16:25-27
Paul exhorts hearers of the letter in Rome to be strong in the Good News, to be made known to Gentiles everywhere to the glory of God.
25 Now all glory to God, who is able to make you strong, just as my Good News says.
- “My Good News (or my Gospel) might seem to be Paul’s version versus others. Paul’s gospel is perhaps more developed, as one would expect, but no different in essence – and gained at first hand. Paul’s letter to the Galatians, Galatians 1:11-12, explains that “his gospel” is not a version of someone else’s gospel but an understanding that he received directly from the Lord by revelation; see also Ephesians 3:2-6.
This message about Jesus Christ has revealed his plan for you Gentiles, a plan kept secret from the beginning of time.
- The prophets, in stark contrast to the exclusive culture they lived in, saw in the Spirit the nature of the gospel and its universality – “a light for the Gentiles”. This truth was hidden, spoken out by the prophets but still a mystery waiting to be revealed until Jesus came and until the time Paul is writing in.
26 But now as the prophets foretold and as the eternal God has commanded, this message is made known to all Gentiles everywhere, so that they too might believe and obey him.
- God has commanded that the message to be made known to all people everywhere, for them to respond and believe. In among His final instructions to the disciples, in a very well-known passage, Jesus told them to go and make disciples “of all nations” or as we would say, all kinds of people – not just people like us.
27 All glory to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, forever. Amen.
The passage begins and ends with Paul giving all glory to God. For what? The message of good news which the prophets heard and spoke of first, not just for the Jews but for all mankind. Paul is seeing this unfolding, and he has had a good deal to do with this. However he is quick to point out that it was good news for him first, he was giving what he had been given, and it was God’s message and promise, not his.
He is showing us that when we see God do great things, and we may, by His grace, have had some involvement in that, hold it lightly and give the glory to God as it is due. It all goes wrong when we start to think it is our achievement, not God’s.
- To what extent have you received the gospel from someone else – and found that you needed to outgrow their perspective, as you grew in your own revelation of it, through your relationship with the Lord?