Romans 15:14-21 (HCSB) My brothers, I myself am convinced about you that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to instruct one another. Nevertheless, I have written to remind you more boldly on some points because of the grace given me by God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, serving as a priest of God’s good news. My purpose is that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Therefore I have reason to boast in Christ Jesus regarding what pertains to God. For I would not dare say anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to make the Gentiles obedient by word and deed, by the power of miraculous signs and wonders, and by the power of God’s Spirit. As a result, I have fully proclaimed the good news about the Messiah from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum. My aim is to evangelize where Christ has not been named, so that I will not build on someone else’s foundation, but, as it is written: Those who were not told about Him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.
The apostle begins winding down his letter to the church in Rome. Having prayed for the God of hope and His Spirit to be their joy and hope so as not to be overwhelmed by the wicked age in which they lived, he now assures them that he is certain they are maturing in Christ – able to teach one another. As he made note of in Ephesians 4, this is one of the major areas of responsibilities in the local church. That passage tells us God personally gave men with certain gifts to train the saints for ministry, growing and maturing in Christ so we won’t be tossed about by human cunning and deceit. The author of Hebrews made the same point in chapter of that letter, telling those saints they should have been teachers. But they were lazy and not ready or able to teach. Teaching is not given only to the men who serve in church offices – it is a responsibility for every child of God. Parents are to teach their children the things of God. We are to teach one another – and learn from one another.
But Paul indicates that he thinks the Romans need a wake-up call, a reminded of things he has already taught them; much as Peter did: 2 Peter 1:12 (HCSB) Therefore I will always remind you about these things, even though you know them and are established in the truth you have. We’ve learned about the call to humility in this letter and we cannot learn from one another if we think we have all the answers, have arrived at full maturity. As he brings this letter to its conclusion, he wants both Jew and Gentile saints in Rome to know God has called Gentiles into His kingdom. He nails the coffin shut on boasting in our own works by saying he has reason to boast ONLY in Christ Jesus and what He had accomplished through the apostle to make the Gentiles obedient in word and deed.
There are some professing Christians who believe obedience is not required, that they should “let go and let God.” The Bible is full of exhortations for Christians to be active in obedience – deed and word. Hebrews 12:12-13 Therefore strengthen your tired hands and weakened knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated but healed instead. Galatians 6:9-10 So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, we must work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith. 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize. Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away. We must be teaching one another and walking so that the name of our God is not profaned by lazy, indolent people who should be shining like a bright light on hill so everyone can see our good works and praise our Father Who is in heaven.