Paul's Epistle to the Romans

 (50) Consideration Because We Have Christ As Our Example.

Romans 15:1–13.

 


Scripture

1 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.
3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.
4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:
6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.
8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:
9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.
10 And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people.
11 And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people.
12 And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.
13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

 


Introductory Note

In this section the support of the weak is urged, and the subject develops into the broader view of seeking one another’s best interests. The whole passage is set in the light of the example of Christ.


Commentary

1 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

The first thirteen verses of chapter 15 continue the subject of the previous chapter, dealing with matters of moral indifference. Tensions had arisen between the converts from Judaism and those from paganism, so here Paul pleads for harmonious relations between these Jewish and Gentile Christians.

We then that are strong.

Paul casts himself as one of the strong in faith, one who has grasped the principle of Christian liberty and freedom from man-made taboos, doubts and confusion. But note that he does not merely relish his strength of understanding Christian doctrine, especially that doctrine concerning the lawfulness of all kinds of food, and the nullification of the Mosaic Law; but rather uses his strength to assist those that are weak in doctrine.

Ought to bear the infirmities of the weak.

So far the appeal has been to avoid saying or doing anything that could cause a weaker brother to stumble. Instead, they are to pursue those things which bring about peace and encourage the weaker brethren. However, there is something more to be done. The strong must actually support the burdens of the weak by practicing self-restraint. They must regard their self-denial not merely as so much moral self-restraint but as a means of taking on themselves the infirmities of the weak: “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). The apostle illustrates this command by stating in [1]1 Corinthians 9:20-22  how he himself acted in relation to this subject.

The infirmities are those scruples (prejudices, errors, and faults) which arise through weak faith.

The word ought is in the position of emphasis. While this injunction is based upon those in chapter fourteen, it has especially in view what is about to be said about Christ as the best example.

The word bear means to "lift up," to "bear away," to “tolerate,” to "remove." But here it is used in a larger sense; "to bear with, to be indulgent to, to endure patiently, not to contend with; “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil…” (Revelation 2:2). Here the apostle is speaking of the church at Ephesus. This church was outstanding for its plentiful works, its grueling labor, and its patient endurance. It did not tolerate evil men in its midst. It had the ability to discern false apostles and to deal with them accordingly.

Paul’s desire is that the strong bear with those whose scruples he regards as weaknesses; those who are weak in knowledge or grace, the bruised reed and the smoking flax.

And not to please ourselves.

Those who are strong (that is, those who have complete liberty regarding things that are morally indifferent) are not to please themselves by selfishly asserting their rights. Rather, they should treat their weak brothers with kindness and consideration, making full allowance for their excessive scruples. We are not to do every thing which we may have a right to do'

2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.

Here the principle is this: don’t live to please yourself. Live to please your neighbor, to do him good, to build him up. This is the Christian approach. Once again, the apostle had a lot to say about how we are to treat our neighbors. It is a consistent theme throughout the epistles: 1 Corinthians 9:19, 22, “For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. …To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some”; Philippians 2:4, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others”;1 Corinthians 13:5, "Love seeketh not her own;" 1 Corinthians 10:24, "Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth;” Matthew 16:24, “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”

To please my neighbor, in the sense of this verse, is not to comply weakly with his desires, but to act with a view to his lasting benefit. Here the word "neighbor" has a special reference to the members of the church. It is often used, however, in a much larger sense; see [2]Luke 10:36. We must not make it our business to gratify all the little appetites and desires of our own heart. We shall be spoiled (as Adonijah was) if we are always humored. The first lesson we have to learn is to deny ourselves.

The second lesson is: Christians must please their brethren. The aim of Christianity is to soften and humble the spirit, and to teach us the art of obedience and true compliance; not to be servants to any form of lust, but to serve the necessities and infirmities of our brethren. It should be a maxim with each of us to do all in our power to please our brethren; and especially in those things in which their spiritual edification is concerned. Though we should not indulge men in mere whims and fads, yet we should bear with their ignorance and their weakness, knowing that others had to bear much with us before we came to our present advanced state of religious knowledge.

How friendly and comfortable a society would the church of Christ be if Christians would make every effort to please one another.

Now note the reason why Christians must please one another: For even Christ did not please himself. The self-denial of our Lord Jesus is the best argument against the selfishness of Christians. He did not have anywhere to lay his head, He lived upon charity, He refused to be made a king, He did not seek his own will [3](John. 5:30), He washed his disciples’ feet, He endured the opposition of sinners against himself, He troubled himself [4](John. 11:33), He did not seek his own honour, and, in a word, emptied himself, and made himself of no reputation: and he did all this for our sakes, so that we might have the righteousness of Christ and serve as an example. His whole life was a self-denying, self-deprecating life. He bore the infirmities of the weak, see [5]Hebrews 4:15 .

3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.

For even Christ pleased not himself;

The apostle, in his usual manner, illustrates what he had said by using the Savior as the example. To a Christian, the example of the Lord Jesus will furnish the most complete, reliable, and happy illustration of the nature and extent of his duty.

Christ never acted like someone who sought his own interests; he not only put up with the weaknesses of his creatures, but he also endured their insults; as it is written in Psalm 69:9: “The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me”—I not only bore their insults, but I bore the punishment that was due to them for their vicious and detestable conduct. I am confident that this Psalm refers to the Messiah and his sufferings for mankind, not only from the quotation here, but also from [6]John 19:28, 29 , when our Lord's receiving the vinegar during his expiatory suffering is said to be a fulfilling of the scripture, namely verse [7]21, of this very Psalm; and his cleansing the temple, [8]John 2:15-17 , is said to be a fulfillment of Psalm 69:9: “For the zeal of thy house hath eaten me up.”.

Pleased not himselfthis does not mean that the Lord Jesus did not voluntarily and cheerfully engage in his great work. He was not "compelled" to come to earth and suffer. And it doesn’t mean that he did not "approve" the work, or see its rightness and fitness. If he had not completely understood and approved of His mission, he would never have engaged in its sacrifices and self-denials. But the meaning may be expressed in the following particulars:

  1. He came to do the will or desire of God in "undertaking" the work of salvation. It was the will of God; it was agreeable to the divine purposes, and the Mediator did not consider his own happiness and honor in heaven, but cheerfully came to "do the will" of God; Psalms 40:7-8, “Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart”; Hebrews 10:4-10, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
  2. Christ when on earth made it his great objective to do the will of God, to finish the work which God had given him to do, and not to seek his own comfort and enjoyment. This he expressly affirms; [9]John 6:38; [10]5:30.
  3. He was willing to endure whatever trials and pains the will of God might demand. For example, we have his prayer in the garden; [11]Luke 22:42.
  4. In his life, he did not seek personal comfort, wealth, or friends, or honors. He denied himself to promote the welfare of others; he was poor that they might be rich; he was in lonely places that he might seek out the needy and provide for them. Nay, he did not seek to preserve his own life when the appointed time came to die, but gave himself up for all.
  5. There may be another idea which the apostle had here. He bore with patience the ignorance, blindness, erroneous views, and ambitious projects of his disciples. He displayed kindness to them when they were in error; and was not harsh, severe, or unkind, when they spent their time on useless projects, or distorted his words, or failed to understand His teaching.
  6. The Lord Jesus had every right to please Himself for what He would do was necessary for our salvation. Yet He was willing to set aside His own desires and follow the Father’s directives.

but, as it is written,

Long before the Lord Jesus entered into the suffering of the cross, King David wrote Psalm 69 to the chief Musician upon Shoshannim. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit he penned verse 9 where he predicted Christ’s suffering, therefore, the Savior fulfilled that prophesy which says, “The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.” Paul in this verse is pointing out another case of fulfilled prophesy. He affirms that the Messiah, instead of pleasing himself, became the subject of “the reproaches of them who reproached” his Father.

The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.

The reproaches—The slanderous denunciation, and harsh, humiliating speeches.
Of them that reproached thee—Of the wicked, who maligned and abused the law and authority of God.
Fell on me—In other words, Christ was willing to suffer reproach and contempt in order to do good to others.
Christ has given us the example. He lived to please His Father, not Himself. He said, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.” This means that He was so completely taken up with God’s honor that when men insulted God He took it as a personal insult to Himself.

The force of the quotation lies in this, that if Christ, instead of acting in self-gratification, voluntarily endured the effects of man’s hostility to God, and that with a view to saving us from the consequences of our sin, what an obligation have we to abstain from self-gratification, submitting to the restraint required in order to advance the welfare of others! How insignificant is any inconvenience or suffering caused to us in comparison with the sufferings which Christ endured!
He obeyed the will of the Father even when He Himself might have chosen an easier path. He did not exercise His personal freedom, in order that the ultimate task of salvation could be accomplished.

Every sin is a kind of reproach to God, especially arrogant sins; now the guilt of these fell upon Christ, when he was made sin, that is, a sacrifice, a sin-offering for us. When the Lord laid upon him the iniquities of us all, and he bore our sins in his own body upon the tree, they fell upon him. Nothing could be more contrary to him, or more against him, than to be made sin and a curse for us, and to have the reproaches of God fall upon him, especially considering for whom he displeased himself; for strangers, enemies, and traitors, the just for the unjust, [12]1 Peter 3:18. This seems to be another reason why we should bear the infirmities of the weak. We must not please ourselves, for Christ pleased not himself; we must bear the infirmities of the weak, for Christ bore the reproaches of those that reproached God. He bore the guilt of sin and the curse for it; we are only called to bear a little of the burden of it. He bore the arrogant sins of the wicked; we are called only to bear the infirmities of the weak. We may learn here,

  1. That the contempt of Jesus Christ is contempt of him who appointed him.
  2. We may see the kindness of the Lord Jesus in being willing to "throw himself" between the sinner and God; to "intercept," as it were, our sins, and to bear the effects of them in his own person. He stood between "us" and God; and both the reproaches and the divine displeasure due to them, "met" on his sacred person, and produced the sorrows of the atonement—his bitter agony in the garden and on the cross. Jesus showed his love of God in being willing to bear the reproaches aimed at him; and his love to "men" in being willing to endure the sufferings necessary to atone for these very sins.
  3. If Jesus bore reproaches, "we" should be willing also to endure them. We suffer in the cause where He has gone before us and where he has set us the example; and as "he" was abused and belittled, we should also be willing to be.

4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

This is akin to the apostle’s Statement in [13]II Timothy 3:16  about the profitableness of Scripture. An earnest study of the Word of God will not only make the weak strong but will enable us to bear the burdens and weaknesses of others. The instruction which the Scriptures impart is directed to patience and comfort. Patience is steadfastness or endurance, and comfort (Gr paraklēsis) is more properly understood as encouragement or consolation. These culminate in hope, not some wistful desire that everything will turn out all right, but in the confidence that all things work together for good (8:28).

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning,

This quotation from the Psalms reminds us that the Old Testament Scriptures were written for our learning. While they were not written directly to us, they contain invaluable lessons for us. As we encounter problems, conflicts, tribulations, and troubles, the Scriptures teach us to be unwavering, and they impart comfort. Thus, instead of sinking under the waves, we are sustained by the hope that the Lord will see us through.

All the Old Testament Scriptures are of permanent and binding value, and they were given to instruct us. Accordingly, the particular quotation just recorded, while directly speaking of Christ, was written for our sakes, so that we might receive and carry out the instruction and derive the comfort. The character of Christ in Psalm 69:9 was described so that we might have the mind that was in Him.

That which is written about Christ, concerning his self-denial and sufferings, is written for our learning; he is to serve as our example. We learn from Him that if He denied himself; surely we should deny ourselves. The example of Christ, in what he did and said, is recorded for our imitation.  What David had said and then recorded in Psalm 69, Paul had just now applied to Christ. Now, in case this should look like a straining of the scripture, he gives us this excellent rule in general, that all the scriptures of the Old Testament (much more those of the New) were written for our learning, and are not to receive a private interpretation. What happened to the Old-Testament saints happened to them for the purpose of providing us with an example; and the scriptures of the Old Testament have many that have already been fulfilled. The scriptures have withstood the test of time and the attack of men, but it still remains as a standing rule to us: they were written for us so that they might be used for our benefit. There are many things to be learned from the scriptures; and it is certainly the best learning.

This is a "general" observation which struck the mind of the apostle, as he thought over the particular case which he had just related. He had made use of a striking passage in the Psalms for his purpose. The thought seems suddenly to have occurred to him that "all" the Old Testament was marvelously adapted to express Christian duties and doctrine, and he therefore turned aside from his direct argument to express this sentiment.

Were written aforetime—That is, in ancient times; in the Old Testament times.
For our learning—for our "teaching" or “instruction.” Not that this was the "only" purpose of the writings of the Old Testament, but that all the Old Testament might be useful "now" in illustrating and enforcing the doctrines and duties of piety toward God and man.

that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

The way of attaining hope is through the patience and comfort of the scripture. Patience and comfort presumes that there is trouble and sorrow present; that is the plight of the saints in this world; and, if that is not the case, we would have no justification for patience and comfort. But both of these watch over that hope which is the life of our souls. Patience works experience, and experience hope, which maketh not ashamed; [14]Romans 5:3-5. The more patience we exercise when we are experiencing troubles the more hopefully we may see through our troubles; nothing is more destructive to hope than impatience. We, through those remarkable examples of patience exhibited by the saints and followers of God, whose history is given in those scriptures, and the comfort which they derived from God in their patient endurance of sufferings brought upon them through their faithful attachment to truth and righteousness, might have hope that we will be upheld and blessed, and our sufferings will become the means of our great advances in faith and holiness, and consequently our hope of eternal life will be validate.

Through patience—This does not mean, as our translation might seem to presume, patience "of the Scriptures," but it means that by patiently enduring sufferings, in connection with the consolation which the Scriptures furnish, we might have hope. The "tendency" of patience, the apostle tells us in [15]Romans 5:4, is to produce "hope.”

And comfort of the Scriptures—By means of the reassurance which the writings of the Old Testament furnish. The word rendered "comfort" means also "exhortation" or "admonition." If this is its meaning here, it refers to the admonitions which the Scriptures suggest, instructions which they impart, and the exhortations to patience in trials. Many today find "comfort" in the scriptures, but in Old Testament times the saints who were afflicted expressed confidence in God as they passed through their trials. Great men such as Job, Daniel, David, etc. have recorded expressions of confidence in God while going through their trials.

Both the patience which persistently endures and the comfort which animates and empowers are required in the fulfillment of the injunctions given to the weak and the strong. The strong, who exercise patience, and the weak, which are supported by the comfort, both derive it from the Scriptures.

We might have hope.—The patience and comfort imparted by the Scriptures inspire those who subject themselves to them with hope for the glory of God.

That hope which has eternal life for its object is presented here as the end of scripture-learning. The scripture was written so that we might know what to hope for from God, and upon what grounds, and in what way. This should recommend the scripture to us that it is a special friend to Christian hope.

We may learn here,
• That affliction may prove to be a great blessing.
• That their proper tendency is to produce "hope."
• That the way to find support in afflictions is to go to the Bible.

5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:

“…That we through the patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” This thought leads Paul to express the wish that the God who gives steadfastness and comfort will enable the strong and the weak, Gentile and Jewish Christians, to live harmoniously according to the teaching and example of Christ Jesus.

Here the graces, which in the preceding verse are ascribed to the Scriptures, are attributed to God as their author, because he produces them by his Spirit, through the recognition of the truth.

External teaching is not enough; we need the inward teaching of the Holy Spirit to enable us to receive and conform to the truths and precepts of the word. Hence Paul prays that God would give his readers the patience, consolation, and hope which they are bound to exercise and enjoy. Paul prays that God would grant them that peace and harmony which he had so strongly urged them to cherish.

Now the God of patience and consolation

The reference to the God of patience and consolation indicates that behind the patience and comfort that the Scriptures bring us a God who energizes his Christians through the Scriptures. Paul appeals to this God to bring the strong and weak together. God is both the author and the foundation of all the patience and consolation of the saints, from whom it springs and on whom it is built. He gives the grace of patience; he confirms and keeps it up as the God of consolation; for the comforts of the Holy Ghost help to support believers, and to bear them up with courage and cheerfulness under all their afflictions. When Paul comes to ask for the pouring out of the spirit of love and unity he addresses himself to God as the God of patience and consolation; that is:

  1. As a God that bears with us and comforts us (it is the surest and sweetest comfort), He is not quick to show us our faults, but is ready to comfort those that are cast down and to teach us to testify about our love for our brethren, and by being patient and comfortable with one another, he preserves and maintains unity. Or,
  2. Paul had spoken in verse 4 of the patience and comfort that comes from the scriptures; but here he looks up to God as the God of patience and consolation: it comes through the scriptures as the conduit-pipe, but from God as the source. The more patience and comfort we receive from God, the more willing we are to love one another. Nothing breaks the peace more than an impatient, and peevish, and fretful melancholy temper.

Now the God of patience—The God who is "himself" long-suffering, who bears patiently with the errors and faults of his children, and who can "give" patience; may he give you of his Spirit, so that you may bear patiently with the infirmities and errors of each other. The example of God that we have here is One who bears long with his children, and is not immediately angry at their offences, and this is a strong argument for why Christians should bear with each other. If God bears long and patiently with "our" infirmities, "we" ought to bear with each other.

And consolation—He gives or imparts consolation (comfort, solace, relief, support).
The patience, of which the apostle speaks, is the calm and steadfast staying power when undergoing suffering, of which the consolation, afforded by the Scriptures, is the source.

grant you to be likeminded one toward another

The fulfillment of this would banish all bitterness, harsh judgment, recrimination, and petty controversies. The foundation of Christian love and peace is laid in like-mindedness; having agreement in judgment and in mutual affection. All occasions of disparity are removed, and all quarrels laid aside.

To be likeminded—to think the same thing; that is, to be united, to keep from splitting up and fighting. The apostle does not pray that they may be of the same opinion, but that there be harmony of feeling. The expression, to be like minded, does not in this place refer to unanimity of opinion, but to harmony of feeling; see [16]Romans 8:5.
 
according to Christ Jesus:

In the same manner in which we were received by Christ the Lord, we are encouraged to receive each other as believers. I was nearly overcome when I became aware of how Jesus accepted me just as I am; complete with my sin and flaws—I didn’t have to do anything to make myself better; He did it all—long, long, ago. Paul’s point is that if the Lord can receive us with the great chasm that existed between Him and us, shouldn’t we be willing to accept one another even if there are minor differences between us? The result of such acceptance of one another will be the harmonious praise for Him and loving fellowship with the brethren.

Like-mindedness among Christians, according to Christ Jesus, is the gift of God; and it is a precious gift, that we must earnestly seek from Him. He is the Father of spirits, and fashions the hearts of men [17](Ps. 35:15), opens the understanding, softens the heart, sweetens the affections, and gives the grace of love, and the Spirit as a Spirit of love, to those that ask him. We are taught to pray that the will of God may be done on earth as it is done in heaven—the angels, are one in their praises and services; and our desire must be that the saints on earth may be like the angels in heaven, as far as our love for God is concerned.

According to Christ Jesus—According to the example and spirit of Christ; his was a spirit of peace. Or, according to what his religion requires. The name of Christ is sometimes used for his religion; [18]2 Corinthians 11:4; [19]Ephesians 4:20. If all Christians would imitate the example of Christ, and follow his instructions, there would be no conflicts among them. He earnestly sought in his parting prayer for their unity and peace; [20]John 17:21-23.

This recalls verse 3. In not pleasing Himself, but acting for our good, Christ manifested that patience which it is necessary for us to imitate if we are to fulfill the will of God in our attitude one toward another. The example as set by Christ is designed to manifest in us both patience and comfort and harmony. But this has a still higher object in view, as mentioned in the next verse.

6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God,

What a picture! Saved Jews and saved Gentiles worshiping the Lord with one mouth!

There are four mentions of the mouth in Romans, forming a biographical outline of a “well-saved soul.” At the beginning, his mouth was full of cursing and bitterness (3:14). Then his mouth was stopped, and he was brought in guilty before the Judge (3:19). Next he confesses with his mouth Jesus as Lord (10:9). And finally his mouth is actively praising and worshiping the Lord (15:6).

We should have the glory of God in our eye in every prayer; therefore our first petition, as the foundation of all the rest, must be, Hallowed be thy name. Like-mindedness among Christians contributes favorably to our glorifying God,

With one mind and one mouth—It is desirable that Christians, Jews and Gentiles, should agree in every thing—thinking the same things, and bearing with each other, after the example of Christ, so that they may agree in this, to praise God together. One mouth in confessing the truths of God, in praising the name of God—one mouth in common conversation, not jarring, biting, and devouring one another—one mouth in the solemn assembly, one speaking, but all joining in to glorifying God for calling you into such a state of salvation, and showing himself to be your loving compassionate Father, as he is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. To honor God effectually and properly, there must be no unnecessary dissensions among his people.

It is very likely that the apostle refers here to religious acts in public worship, which might have been greatly interrupted by the dissensions between the converted Jews and the converted Gentiles; these differences he works hard to eliminate; and, after having done all that was necessary in the way of instruction and exhortation, he now pours out his soul to God, who alone could rule and manage the heart, that he would enable them to think the same things, to be of the same judgment, and that all, feeling their obligation to him, might join in the sweetest harmony in every act of religious worship.

even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This is his New-Testament style, which is different from how He dealt with mankind in the Old Testament. There He spoke through the prophets and only the priests could make the sacrifices and enter into the Holy of Holies once a year on behalf of the people. God must be glorified, because He changed man’s relationship with Him to a personal one,  since he has now revealed himself in the face of Jesus Christ, according to the rules of the gospel, and with an eye to Christ, in whom he is our Father.

The unity of Christians glorifies God as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, because it is a kind of counter-part or representation of the oneness that is between the Father and the Son. We are told to be united when we Glorify God, and, with that in our eye, to desire it, and pray for it; from John 17:21, “That they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee: a high expression of the honour and sweetness of the saints’ unity.” And it follows, “The world may believe that thou hast sent me; and so God may be glorified as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Here, our High Priest extended His prayer beyond the disciples. He prayed for generations yet unborn. In fact, every believer reading this verse can say, “Jesus prayed for me over 2000 years ago.” The prayer was for unity among believers, but this time it was with the salvation of sinners in view. The unity for which Christ prayed was not a matter of external church union. Rather it was a unity based on common moral likeness. He was praying that believers might be one in exhibiting the character of God and of Christ. This is what would cause the world to believe that God had sent Him. This is the unity which makes the world say, “I see Christ in those Christians as the Father was seen in Christ.”

7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

Wherefore receive ye one another,

The apostle returns here to his exhortation to Christians, and from it one more principle emerges. What he says here has the same intent as what came before it; but the repetition shows how much the apostle’s heart was resolutely set upon it. Those that have received Christ by faith must receive all Christians by brotherly love; though poor in the world, though persecuted and despised, though it may be a matter of rebuke and danger to you to receive them, though in the less weighty matters of the law they hold different opinions, though it may have caused you occasional annoyance, yet, laying aside all these things and similar considerations, you should receive one another, just as Christ has received us [21](Romans 14:3). Here is the true basis for welcoming new members into the local assembly. We do not receive on the basis of denominational affiliation, spiritual maturity, or social status. We should receive those whom Christ has received, in order to promote the glory of God. We should have the most affectionate regard for each other, and acknowledge each other as the servants and children of God Almighty, and treat one another as such, though you may differ in opinion about many smaller matters.

as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

Now the reason why Christians must receive one another is taken, as before, from the condescending love of Christ for us: Christ received us, to bring glory of God, and we should receive our brethren in the same way. Can there be a more convincing argument? Has Christ been very kind to us, and should we be unkind to those that are his? Christ has received us into the nearest and dearest relationship with himself: has received us into his fold, into his family, into the adoption of sons, into a covenant of friendship, yea, into a marriage-covenant with himself; he has received us (though we were strangers and enemies, and had played the prodigal) into fellowship and communion with himself. Those words, to the glory of God, may refer both to Christ’s receiving us, which is our pattern, and to our receiving one another, which is our practice according to that pattern.

To the glory of God.—This is to be taken along with the immediately preceding statement “as Christ received you.” The glory of God was the object in view in the reception of each of us by Christ, and the same object is to govern the attitude of believers one toward another; it is to be kindly and considerate, not just a mere toleration, but a hearty reception meant to glorify God in this world, and be glorified with him in the world to come. It was the glory of God, and our glory in the enjoyment of God, that Christ had in his eye when he condescended to receive us. We are called to an eternal glory by Christ Jesus: “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world” (John. 17:24). The Son desires to have His people with Himself in glory. Every time a believer dies, it is, in a sense, an answer to this prayer. If we realized this, it would be a comfort to us in our sorrow. To die is to go to be with Christ and to behold His glory. This glory is not only the glory of deity which He had with God before the world begun. It is also the glory He acquired as Savior and Redeemer. This glory is a proof that God loved Christ before the foundation of the world.

8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:

In the next six verses the apostle reminds his readers that the ministry of Jesus Christ includes Jews and Gentiles, and the implication is that our hearts should also be big enough to include both. Certainly Christ came to serve the circumcision—that is, the Jewish people. God had repeatedly promised that He would send the Messiah to Israel, and Christ’s coming confirmed the truth of those promises.

Paul turns his apostolic guns squarely on Jew/Gentile acceptance of each other. As we have Christ as our example, the Jew must receive the Gentile and the Gentile the Jew. Jesus Christ came to be a minister of the circumcision. This word minister is the word diakonos in Greek. Paul’s assessment of the Lord’s ministry squares with the Lord’s own assessment. “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister” (Gr diakoneō Mark 10:45). The truthfulness of God’s Word is seen in the fulfillment of His promises to the Patriarchs. And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. The fulfillment of promises to the Jews evokes praise to God from the Gentiles. Paul also appeals to Psalm 18:49 where David included Gentile nations in the heritage of God to Israel, “Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.” The Psalmist has a hymn of praise to God for His wonderful vindication of the Lord Jesus. He has given great victories to His king, and shown mercy to His anointed, His Son. Because of what He has done, we too should extol Him among the Gentiles, and sing praises to His Name.

Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God,

When this verse is combined with the preceding one there is a relationship that might be put this way: “Christ has received you to the glory of God, and this became possible because of His grace on behalf of the weak and the strong, for He became a servant of the Jews, for the sake of the truth of God, in order to confirm by this fulfillment the promises made to the fathers, and that by this means Gentiles might be brought into the blessings of salvation.” Jews and Gentiles, weak and strong, both have a common interest in this ministration of Christ, and so this becomes an additional motive for Christian tolerance.

We should not look down on our Jewish brethren, because Christ, who was born a Jew, took His gospel to them first; and did not turn to the Gentiles until the Jews rejected Him as their Messiah—“He came to His own, and His own knew Him not.” He had come to minister to the Jews, and also to cause the Gentiles to glorify God, verse 9.

Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision. That he was a minister, diakonos—a servant, speaks of his great and exemplary condescension, and brings honor to his ministry. He was a minister of the circumcision, and was himself circumcised under the law, and He personally preached the gospel to the Jews, who were of the circumcision-this makes the nation of the Jews considerably more than they appear to be. Christ conversed with the Jews, blessed them, looked upon himself as primarily sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel; He was born a Jew; laid hold of the seed of Abraham (see [22]Hebrews 2:16), and with them went after the whole body of mankind. Christ died in their midst, without having gone himself to any other people. His personal ministry was eventually given to the apostles, although they had their commission enlarged to include the Gentiles.

Christ confined his ministry to the Jews to confirm the truth of God contained in the promises made to the patriarchs; and Jesus Christ, by coming according to the promise, has fulfilled this truth, by making good the promises: therefore, salvation is of the Jews, as a kind of right conveyed to them through the promises made to their fathers. But this salvation was not exclusively designed for the Jewish people; as God by his prophets had repeatedly declared.

He was for the truth of God. That which he preached to the Jews was the truth; for he came into the world to bear witness to the truth: “Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.” (John 18:37). When Pilate asked Him if He was a king, Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king.” But His kingdom is concerned with truth, not with swords and shields. It was to bear witness to the truth that He came into the world. The truth here means the truth about God, Christ Himself, the Holy Spirit, man, sin, salvation, and all the other great doctrines of Christianity. In addition, the truth about God should take into account His faithfulness. Christ had exhibited the greatest condescension and kindness in coming, not as a Lord or ruler, but as a humble minister to the Jews, to accomplish the gracious promises of God. As this kindness was not confined to them, but as the Gentiles also were received into his kingdom, and united with the Jews on equal terms, this example of Christ furnishes the strongest motives for the cultivation of mutual affection and harmony. Everyone who loves the truth hears His voice, and that is how His Empire grows.  While He remained among them He exercised his ministry, to show that God was "true," who had said that the Messiah should come to them.

And he is himself the truth, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John. 14:6). Jesus claimed to be the Truth. He is not just One who teaches the truth; He is the truth. He is the embodiment of Truth. Those who have Christ have the Truth. It is not found anywhere else. Or, for the truth of God, that is, to make good the promises given to the patriarchs concerning the special mercy God had in store for their seed. It was not for the merit of the Jews, but for the truth of God, that they were respected—that God might prove himself true to the word which he had spoken.

to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:

To confirm the promises—To "establish," or to show that the promises were true; see [23]Acts 3:25-26. The "promises" referred to here, are those particularly which related to the coming of the Messiah. By admitting that the Messiah was the minister of the circumcision, the apostle conceded all that the Jew could ask, that he was to be peculiarly "their" Messiah; “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:47)

The best confirmation of promises is the actual performance of them. It was promised that from the seed of Abraham all the nations of the earth would be blessed, that Messiah should come from between the feet of Judah, that out of Israel should he proceed that would have the dominion, that out of Zion should go forth the law, and there are many other promises like these. There were many things that happened in the interim which seemed to weaken those promises, and threaten the fatal decay of that people; but when Messiah the Prince appeared in the fulness of time, as a minister of the circumcision, all these promises were confirmed, and the truth about them was made to appear. In Christ all the promises of God, both those of the Old Testament and those of the New, are Yea. Understanding by the promises made to the fathers the whole covenant of grace, darkly administered under the Old Testament, and brought to a clearer light now under the gospel, it was Christ’s great errand to confirm that covenant, [24]Daniel 9:27. He confirmed it by shedding the blood of the covenant.

Christ came to minister primarily to the Jewish people. He Himself said, “I was not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24).

9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.

And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy;

Christ brings blessings to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews. God determined that the nations should hear the gospel, and that those people who believe should glorify God for His great mercy. This should not come as a surprise to Jewish believers, because it is frequently foretold in their Scriptures. In [25]Psalm 18:49, for example, David anticipates the day when the Messiah will sing praises to God in the midst of a host of Gentile believers.

One plan of Christ was that the Gentiles might be converted and become one with the Jews in Christ’s mystical body. That was a good reason for why they should not think of any Christian as being inferior for his having been formerly a Gentile; for Christ has received him in the same way He received the Jews; by faith. He invites the Gentiles, and welcomes them. Now look at how their conversion is expressed in this place: “That the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy”.
1. They have a reason to praise God; for the mercy of God. Considering the miserable and deplorable condition that the Gentile world was in, the receiving of them appears more like an act of mercy than was the receiving of the Jews. The greatest mercy of God to any people is the receiving of them into covenant with himself: and it is good to take notice of God’s mercy in receiving us—you and I.
2. They have a heart for praise. They will glorify God for his mercy. Unconverted sinners do nothing to glorify God; but converting grace works in the soul to create a disposition to speak and do all to the glory of God; God intended to reap a harvest of glory from the Gentiles, who had been turning his glory into shame, for such a long time.

We have already shown that Christ was a minister of the circumcision in the days of His flesh, but that was preliminary to taking the ministry of the gospel to all nations. Therefore Jewish believers should not pass disapproving judgment upon gentile believers who claim liberty from certain religious scruples.

The Jews were to glorify God for his truth, but the Gentiles were to glorify God for his mercy. The Jews received the blessings of the Gospel as a right stemming from God’s promise to the fathers, and God took those promises and most punctually and circumstantially fulfilled them. The Gentiles had received the same Gospel as an effect of God's mere mercy, having no rights due to them from any promise made with any of their ancestors, although they were originally included in the covenant made with Abraham; and the prophets had repeatedly declared that they should be made equal partakers of those blessings with the Jews themselves; as the apostle proceeds to prove. A number of quotations from the Old Testament here follow, to show that God's plan of mercy embraced, from the first, the Gentiles along with the Jews.
 
as it is written,

As it is written “Therefore will I give praise unto Thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto Thy Name” (Psalm 18:49). This verse is one of David's. He says that he will praise God for his mercies "among" the pagan, or when surrounded "by" the pagan; or that he would confess and acknowledge the mercies of God to him; likewise we should say, "To all the world." The apostle, however, uses it in this sense, that the "Gentiles" would "participate" with the Jew in offering praise to God, or that they would be united. This does not appear to have been the original intention of David in the psalm, which was to celebrate his conquests over the nations, but the "words" express the viewpoint of the apostle. He used the “words” prophetically for how Gentile believers would express thanks to God for their salvation. Ultimately, this prophecy will be fulfilled in the Millennial Day. Various passages from the Old Testament will be quoted in the remaining verses to show God's purpose to give the gospel to the Gentiles.

For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles,

It was foretold that the Gentiles should have the gospel preached to them. "I will confess to thee among the Gentiles,” that is, Christ’s name will be known and owned in the Gentile world, and there will gospel grace and love be celebrated. This, once again, is quoted from Psalm 18:49—“I will give thanks unto thee, O Lord, among the heathen.” A thankful illumination and commemoration of the name of God are an excellent means of drawing others to know and praise God. Christ, in and by his apostles and ministers, whom he sent to disciple all nations, did confess (gave their testimony) to God among the Gentiles. The adoration of Christ, as well as the conversion of sinners, is expressed by praising God.

When Christ proclaims God’s name to his brethren it is called his praising God in the midst of the congregation in Psalms 22:22—“I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.” These words were spoken by David when he was old and dying, and he was not likely to confess God among the Gentiles; but when David’s psalms are read and sung among the Gentiles, to the praise and glory of God, it may be said that David is confessing God among the Gentiles, and singing to his name.

The fulfilling of the scriptures in receiving Gentiles. The goodwill that God extended to the Gentiles was not only mercy, but truth. Although, there were not any promises given directly to them, as there was to the ancestors of the Jews; nevertheless, there were many prophesies concerning them, which related to their calling by the Holy Spirit, and to bringing them into the church of Jesus Christ, which he mentions here because it was something that the Jews found difficult to accept. Therefore, by referring them to the Old Testament, he strives to lessen their dislike for the Gentiles, and consequently to reconcile the two groups.

I will confess to thee among the Gentiles. This quotation is taken from Psalm 18:49, and it shows that the Gentiles had a right to glorify God for his mercy to them; and we will see more of the force of this saying, when we consider a maxim of the Jews delivered in Megillah: "From the time that the children of Israel entered into the promised land, no Gentile had any right to sing a hymn of praise to God. But after the Israelites were led into captivity, the Gentiles began to have a right to glorify God." Therefore the Jews themselves confess that the Gentiles have a right to glorify God, because they were made partakers of his grace and mercy. “And if,” says Schoettgen, “we have a right to glorify God, then it follows that our worship must be pleasing to him; and if it is pleasing to him, then it follows that this worship must be good, otherwise God could not be pleased with it.”

and sing unto thy name.

Converting grace makes people greatly in love with David’s psalms. Taking them as spoken by Christ, the Son of David, they may be understood by his spiritual indwelling by faith in the hearts of all the praising saints. If any confess to God among the Gentiles, and sing to his name, it is not they, but Christ and his grace in them. I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; so, I praise, yet not I, but Christ in me.

Dr. Taylor gives a good paraphrase of this and the three following verses: “As you Jews glorify God for his truth, so the Gentiles have a right to join with you in glorifying God for his mercy. And you have Scripture authority for admitting them to such fellowship; for instance, David says in Psalm 18:49, ‘Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O Lord, among the Gentiles, and sing praises unto thy name.’ And again, Moses himself says in Deuteronomy 32:43, ‘Rejoice, O ye Gentiles, with his people.’ And again, it is evident, from Psalm 117:1, 2, that praise to God is not to be confined to the Jews only, but that all people, as they all share in his goodness, should also join in thanks to their common benefactor: ‘O praise the Lord, all ye nations, (Gentiles), praise him all ye people; for his merciful kindness is great towards us; and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever.’ Again the Prophet Isaiah expressly and clearly declares in Isaiah 11:10, ‘There shall be a root of Jesse, (that is, the Messiah), and he shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, and in him shall the Gentiles hope.’ And thus the apostle proves, both to the Jews and to the Gentiles, who were probably unwilling to join with each other in religious fellowship, that they both had an equal right to glorify God, being equally interested in his mercy, goodness, and truth; and that, from the evidence of the above scriptures, the Gentiles had as much right to hope in Christ, for the full enjoyment of his kingdom, as the Jews had: and, taking occasion from the last word hope, which we improperly translate trust, he pours out his heart in the following affectionate prayer.”

10 And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people.

This Old Testament quote is taken from the close of the Song of Moses [26](Deut. 32:43), which gives a history of the nation of Israel from its earliest times till the overthrow of Antichrist and the gentile nations gathered together under him, and the setting up of Messiah’s Millennial Kingdom. The Gentiles are pictured here as rejoicing in the blessings of salvation with His people, Israel. The sword of Jehovah will destroy “the head of the leaders of the enemy” [27](Deut. 32: 42), that is to say, the Antichrist himself. In view of the overthrow of the great persecutor and his associates, and the deliverance of the Jews, the joyful summons goes forth to the world, “Rejoice, O ye nations, with His people.” 

Observe:

  1. Those gentiles who were included among his people are said to rejoice with his people. No greater joy can come to any people than the coming of the gospel among them in power.
  2. Those Jews that retain a prejudice against the Gentiles will by no means admit them to any of their joyful festivities; for (they say) a stranger intermeddled not with the joy. “The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy” (Proverbs 14:10). There are sorrows in the human heart that no other human being can share (though the Lord can and does). There is also joy that can be enjoyed only by the person directly involved.
  3. Since the partition-wall was taken down, the Gentiles are welcome to rejoice with his people.
  4. After being brought into the church, they share in its sufferings; they are companions in patience and tribulation, and they share in the joy.

11 And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people.

This is quoted out of that short psalm, Psalm 117:1; “O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.” In this shortest chapter of the Bible, the Gentiles are called upon to praise the LORD ... for His merciful kindness and enduring truth. The Apostle Paul grasped its significance and quoted verse 1 here in Romans15:11 to show that the Gentile nations share with Israel in the mercy of the Messiah. Christ came not only to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs but also, so that “the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy.”

Converting grace causes people to praise God; it furnishes them with the best reason for praise, and creates a desire to do it. The Gentiles had been, for many ages, praising their lifeless idols of wood and stone, but now they are brought to praise the Lord; and this is what David speaks of, while in the spirit. In calling upon all the nations to praise the Lord, it is intimated that they shall have the knowledge of him. This command to the Gentiles is found in Psalm 97:1, and it is even clearer and stronger, “The LORD reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof.”
This stately paraphrase by Isaac Watts gives us the message of the Psalm in lines of unusual beauty:


From all that dwell below the skies,
Let the Creator’s praise arise;
Let the Redeemer’s name be sung
Through every land, by every tongue.
Eternal are Thy mercies, Lord;
Eternal truth attends Thy word;
Thy praise shall sound from shore to shore,
Till suns shall rise and set no more.
—Isaac Watts

12 And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.

And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse,

Esaias is the one we call Isaiah, one of the greatest, if not “the” greatest, of the Old Testament prophets.

Jesse, the father of David (see [28]1 Samuel 17:58), was an ancestor of Jesus; however, the Lord Jesus is a root of Jesse in the sense that He is Jesse’s Creator, not that He sprang from Jesse (though that is also true). In Revelation 22:16 Jesus speaks of Himself as the Root and Offspring of David—“I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” As to His deity, He is David’s Creator; as to His humanity, He is David’s descendant.

This verse (12) is a quote from [29]Isaiah 11:10, where Christ is identified as the Gentiles’ king. Here He is called the root of Jesse. Compare these verses to Isaiah 11:1—“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.” Christ was David’s Lord, but he was also the Son of David—Jesus asked, “If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?” (Matthew 22:45). The answer is that the Messiah is both David’s Lord and David’s Son—both God and Man. As God, He is David’s Lord; as Man, He is David’s Son.

If the Pharisees had only been teachable, they would have realized that Jesus was the Messiah—the Son of David through the line of Mary, and the Son of God as revealed by His words, works, and ways. He was the root and offspring of David; Christ, as God, was David’s root, Christ, as man, was David’s offspring.

When a tree dies, and falls, there may remain a "root" which will retain life, and which will send up a sprout of the same kind. So Job says (Job 14:7), "For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease." If HE should fall, like an aged tree, his name and family would not become extinct. There will be a descendant who should rise, and reign over the Gentiles; this will occur at the Second Coming.

and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles;

There are four quotations in this passage which are taken from three parts of the Old Testament, the Law (v. 10), the Psalms (vv. 9 and 11), and the prophets (v. 12). Accordingly, the truth of the inclusion of Jew and Gentile in Christ through the gospel is shown to extend through the whole range of Old Testament prophecy. This adds another point to the preceding exhortations pertaining to mutual forbearance.

The promise of the prophet is, that from the decayed and fallen house of David, One should arise, whose dominion would extend to all nations, and in whom Gentiles as well as Jews would trust. In the fulfillment of this prophecy Christ came, and preached salvation to those who were near (Jews) and to those who were far off (Gentiles). Seeing that both classes had been received kindly by the condescending Savior, and united into one community, they should recognize and love each other as brethren, and lay aside all scorn and contempt, neither judging nor despising one another.

He that shall rise—That is, as a sprout springs up from a decayed or fallen tree. Jesus, in like manner, "rose" from the family of David, which had fallen into poverty and a humble life style prior to the time of Mary.

To reign over the Gentiles—This is a quote from Isaiah 11:10. The Hebrew is, "Which shall stand up for an ensign of the people;" that is a standard to which they shall flock. This is an explicit prediction of the dominion of the Messiah over other nations besides the Jews. The idea of his "reigning" over the Gentiles is one that is fully expressed in the [30]second  psalm.

This explains the figurative expression of the prophet; he shall stand for an ensign of the people. When Christ rose from the dead, when he ascended on high, it was to reign over the Gentiles.

in him shall the Gentiles trust.

In him …—The Hebrew is, "To it shall the Gentiles seek." The general idea, however, remains the same and the aim or purpose is also the same; to show that it was predicted in the Old Testament that the Gentiles would be made partakers of the privileges of the gospel. The argument of the apostle is that if this was the design of God, then converts to Christianity from among the "Jews" should lay aside their prejudices, and "receive" them as their brethren, entitled to the same privileges of the gospel as themselves. The "fact" that the Gentiles would be admitted to these privileges, the apostle had more fully discussed in Romans 10–11.

The key word here is “trust,” which I define as the exercise of faith. Faith is the soul’s confidence in Christ and dependence on him. The prophet has it; you and I have it, as well as any true Christian. The method of faith is to first seek Christ for a Savior; and, finding him able and willing to save, then to trust in him. Those that know him will trust in him. Or, this seeking of him is the effect of a trust in him; seeking him by prayer, and through other activities like helping another. We will never seek Christ until we trust in him. Since Jews and Gentiles are united in Christ’s love, why shouldn’t they be united in one another’s love?


13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost

Here is another prayer directed to God, here called the God of hope; and it is, like the former prayer (v. 5, 6), a request for spiritual blessings: these are the blest blessings, and they should be primarily what we pray for. It seems to be a concluding prayer for the whole Epistle.Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,

Now the God of hope—literally, “the God of the hope,” because He is the author of that hope; the God who "inspires," or "produces" the Christian hope. This hope is not mere expectancy; it carries with it the assurance of faith.

He is the foundation on which our hope is built, and he is the builder that builds upon the groundwork of hope: he is both the object of our hope, and the author of it [31](1 Peter 1:3). That hope which is not fastened upon God (like hoping for goodness), and which is not from his working in us is little more than imagination, and will deceive us. We avoid false hope and having no hope at all by studying God’s Word; Psalm 119:49—“Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.” It is not possible that God could ever forget His promises, but in the furnace of affliction, when faith has its lapses, we may forget, but then we are permitted to pray, “Lord, remember ... ” He cannot have taught us to trust in His name, and then left us all alone—“I will never leave you or forsake you!”

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy. Paul has quoting from Isaiah, “In him shall the Gentiles hope,” and follows it with a prayer that the God who has given them the blessed hope may fill them with joy and peace, so that they may abound in hope. The hope we have in Christ is the source of a great part of our joy.

Fill you with all joy—Give you true spiritual happiness; peace in your own hearts, and unity among yourselves; in believing not only the promises which he has given you, but believing in Christ Jesus, in whom all the promises are yea and amen.

All joy and peace—If they were filled with this, there would be no strife and contention.

Observe (1.) what he asks of God (not for himself, but for them). That they might be filled with all joy and peace in believing, which are the results of genuine faith. Joy and peace are two of those things in which the kingdom of God consists: “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost;” Romans14:17. What really counts in the kingdom of God are not dietary regulations but spiritual realities. The kingdom of God is the sphere where God is acknowledged as Supreme Ruler. In its widest sense, it includes all who even profess allegiance to God. But in its inward reality it includes only those who are born again. That is its usage here.

The subjects of the kingdom are not intended to be food faddists, gourmets, or wine connoisseurs. They should be characterized by lives of practical righteousness, by dispositions of peace and harmony, and by mind-sets of joy in the Holy Spirit. Joy in God and peace of conscience, both arise from a sense of our justification; see [31]Romans 5:1, 2. Joy and peace in our own bosoms would promote a cheerful unity and agreement with our brethren.

All joy means all possible joy, which comes only when a person possesses both the peace of God and peace with God. Paul here, as in verse 5, concludes by praying that God would grant them the spiritual consciousness which it was their duty to possess. Consequently, the ideas of accountableness and dependence are constantly and intimately connected in the sacred Scriptures. Hence, we are to work out our own salvation, because it is God that worketh in us both to will and to do, according to his good pleasure.

Observe (2.) How desirable this joy and peace are: they are filling. Carnal joy puffs up the soul, but cannot fill it; therefore in laughter the heart is sad. True, heavenly, spiritual joy is filling to the soul; it has a satisfaction in it, answerable to the soul’s vast and just desires. Thus does God satiate and replenish the weary soul. Nothing more than this joy, only more of it, even the perfection of it in glory, is the desire of the soul that hath it:

• Psalms 4:6, 7—“There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.” There are many who want prosperity and happiness. They are continually yearning to see some good. But the trouble is that they want blessing without the Blesser, and good without God. They want all the benefits of a Christ-filled life but they don’t want the Benefactor.

In contrast to them, David goes straight to the Fountainhead of all good with the words, “LORD, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us.”

His gladness in the Lord far exceeds the joy of the ungodly when their silos bulge with grain and their casks overflow with wine. “Never did rich harvests of corn and wine bring gladness like the gladness Thou puttest into my heart” (Knox).

• Psalms 36:8“They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.” Not only is there protection, but abundant provision as well. What food can match that of the house of the Lord for quality and for quantity? And what pleasures also? As F. B. Meyer pointed out, God gives sorrows by cupfuls but pleasure by riverfuls!

• Psalms 63:5—“My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips.” No banquet is like this sacred communion. Our souls are fed with the choicest delights, and joyful lips respond with overflowing thanks as we redeem the sleepless hours of night by meditating on our glorious Lord.

•  Psalms 65:4—“Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.” The first part of the verse speaks of the Messiah, Jesus, whereas the second part is the language of redeemed Israel. God’s blessed Son is the One whom God chose, as we read in Isaiah 42:1: “... My elect One in whom My soul delights.” Also He is the One whom God caused to approach Him—a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. He shall dwell in the courts of the Lord, in the place of special nearness to Him.

Then the remnant expresses its confidence of complete satisfaction with the goodness of God’s house, that is, His holy temple. This reference to the temple causes some to question the Davidic authorship of the Psalm since the temple was not built until after David’s death. However the difficulty vanishes when we realize that the word temple was sometimes used to describe the tabernacle before Solomon’s temple was erected ([32]1 Sam. 1:9; [33]3:3; [34]2 Sam. 22:7).

Observe (3.) how joy and peace are attained.

  1. By prayer. We must go to God for it; because He is willing for us to make this request of Him. Prayer gets a hold of spiritual joy and peace.
  2. By believing; that is the means to be used. It is vain, and flashy, and short-lived joy that is the product of daydreams; true substantial joy is the fruit of faith. Believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable—“Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” (1 Peter 1:8). It is due to the weakness of our faith that we lack so much joy and peace. Only believe; believe the goodness of Christ, the love of Christ, the promises of the covenant, and the joys and glories of heaven; let faith be the substance and evidence of these things, and the result will necessarily be joy and peace.

that ye may abound in hope

The joy and peace of believers arise chiefly from their hopes. What is laid out upon them is just a little, compared with what is laid up for them; therefore, the more hope they have the more joy and peace they have. We abound in hope when we hope for great things from God, and have all our expectations fulfilled by the power of the Holy Ghost, enabling us to hope and believe; and then increasing the strength and joyfulness of our hope

through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Christians should desire and labor to own an abundance of hope by means of the powerful operation of the Holy Spirit. It is by his power alone that the Christian has the hope of eternal life; see [35]Ephesians 1:13-14; [36]Romans 8:24. The same almighty power that confers grace gives and strengthens this hope. Our own power will never reach it; and therefore where this hope is, and is abounding, the blessed Spirit must have all the glory.

So Paul closes this section with a gracious benediction, praying that the God who gives good hope through grace will fill the saints with all joy and peace as they believe on Him. Perhaps he is thinking especially of Gentile believers here, but the prayer is suitable for all. And it is true that those who abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit have no time to quarrel over nonessentials. Our common hope is a powerful unifying force in the Christian life.

________________General Notes_______________________

[1](1 Corinthians 9:20-22)  “And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”

[2](Luke 10:36) “Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?” The story of the Good Samaritan had an unexpected twist to it. It started off to answer the question “Who is my neighbor?” But it ended by posing the question “To whom do you prove yourself a neighbor?”
[3](John 5:30) “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” It seems that the Lord Jesus did not have the power to do anything by Himself. However, that was not the case. The thought is that He is so closely united with God the Father that He could not act by Himself. He could not do anything on His own authority. There was no trace of willfulness in the Savior. He acted in perfect obedience to His Father and always in fullest fellowship and harmony with Him.
[4](John 11:33) “When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was trouble.” To see Mary and her friends in sorrow caused Jesus to groan and to be troubled. Doubtless He thought of all the sadness, suffering, and death which had come into the world as a result of man’s sin. This caused Him inward grief.
[5](Hebrews 4:15) “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” No one can truly sympathize with someone else unless he has been through a similar experience himself. As Man our Lord has shared our experiences and can therefore understand the testing which we endure. (He cannot sympathize with our wrongdoing because He never experienced it.)
[6](John 19:28-29) “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.”
[7](Psalm 69:21) “They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

[8](John 2:15-17) “And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise. And his disciples remembered that it was written, ‘The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.’” When His disciples saw what was happening, they were reminded of Psalm 69:9 where it was predicted that when the Messiah came, He would be utterly consumed with a zeal for the things of God. Now they saw Jesus manifesting an intense determination that the worship of God should be pure, and they realized that this was the One of whom the Psalmist had spoken. 
[9](John 6:38) “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.”
[10](John 5:30) “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.”
[11](Luke 22:42) “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”
[12](1 Peter 3:18) “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.” Christ is the classic example of One who suffered for righteousness’ sake, but for Him, suffering was the pathway to glory. Notice the six features of His sufferings: (1) They were expiatory, that is, they freed believing sinners from the punishment of their sins. (2) They were eternally effectual. He died once for all and settled the sin question. The work of redemption was completed. (3) They were substitutionary. The just died for the unjust. “The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6b). (4) They were reconciling. Through His death we have been brought to God. The sin which caused alienation has been removed. (5) They were violent. His death was by execution. (6) Finally, they were climaxed by resurrection. He was raised from the dead on the third day. The expression made alive by the Spirit means that His resurrection was through the power of the Holy Spirit. 
[13](2 Timothy 3:16) “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” This is one of the most important verses in the Bible on the subject of inspiration. It teaches that the Scriptures are God-breathed. In a miraculous way, He communicated His word to men and led them to write it down for permanent preservation. What they wrote was the very word of God, inspired and infallible. While it is true that the individual literary style of the writer was not destroyed, it is also true that the very words he used were words given to him by the Holy Spirit. Thus we read in 1Corinthians 2:13: “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” If this verse says anything at all, it says that the inspired writers used WORDS which the Holy Spirit taught. This is what is meant by verbal inspiration.”

[14](Romans 5:3-5) “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”
[15](Romans 5:4) “…but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope:” When God sees us bearing up under our trials and looking to Him to work out His purposes through them, He awards us His Good Endurance Seal of Approval. We have been tested and approved. And this sense of His approval fills us with hope. We know He is working in our lives, developing our character. This gives us confidence that, having begun a good work in us, He will see it through to completion (Phil. 1:6).

[16](Romans 8:5) “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” Those who live according to the flesh—that is, those who are unconverted—are concerned with the things of the flesh. They obey the impulses of the flesh. They live to gratify the desires of the corrupt nature. They cater to the body, which in a few short years will return to dust.

But those who live according to the Spirit—that is, true believers—rise above flesh and blood and live for those things that are eternal. They are occupied with the word of God, prayer, worship, and Christian service.
[17](Psalms 35:15) “But in mine adversity they rejoiced, and gathered themselves together: yea, the abjects gathered themselves together against me, and I knew it not; they did tear me, and ceased not:”

[18](2 Corinthians 11:4) “For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” When anyone came to Corinth actually preaching another Jesus, and professing to dispense a different spirit than the Holy Spirit, and proclaiming a different gospel, the Corinthians put up with such a one quite willingly. They showed a lovely toleration of these views. Paul is saying sarcastically, “If you do that with others, why don’t you do it with me?” 
[19](Ephesians 4:20) “But ye have not so learned Christ;” How different all this was from the Christ whom the Ephesians had come to know and love! He was the personification of purity and chastity. He knew no sin, He did no sin, and there was no sin in Him. 
[20](John 17:21-23) “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” The prayer was for unity among believers, but this time it was with the salvation of sinners in view. The unity for which Christ prayed was not a matter of external church union. Rather it was a unity based on common moral likeness. He was praying that believers might be one in exhibiting the character of God and of Christ. This is what would cause the world to believe that God had sent Him. This is the unity which makes the world say, “I see Christ in those Christians as the Father was seen in Christ.”

[21](Romans 14:3) “Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.” The principle found here is that there must be mutual tolerance. The mature Christian must not despise his weak brother. Neither should the weak brother judge as a sinner someone who enjoys ham, shrimp, or lobster. God has received him into His family as a member in good standing.

[22](Hebrews 2:16) “For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.” The seed of Abraham may mean Abraham’s physical descendants, the Jews, or it may mean his spiritual seed —the believers of every age. The important point is that they are human, not angelic beings.  
[23[(Acts 3:25-26) “Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.” Peter reminds his Jewish hearers that the promise of these times of blessing was made to them as sons of the prophets and descendants of Abraham. After all, God had made a covenant with Abraham to bless all the families of the earth in his seed. All the promises of millennial blessing center in the Seed, i.e., in Christ. They should therefore accept the Lord Jesus as Messiah.

God had already raised up His Servant (3:13), and had sent Him first to the nation of Israel. This refers to the Incarnation and life of our Lord rather than to His resurrection. If they would receive Him, He would turn away every one of them from their iniquities.

In this sermon by Peter, delivered to the people of Israel, we notice that it is the kingdom that is in view rather than the church. Also the emphasis is national rather than individual. The Spirit of God is lingering over Israel in longsuffering mercy, pleading with God’s ancient people to receive the glorified Lord Jesus as Messiah and thus hasten the advent of Christ’s kingdom on earth. But Israel would not hear. 
[24](Daniel 9:27) “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” 
[25](Psalm 18:49) “Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.”
[26](Deuteronomy 32:43) “Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.” This is a direct command to Gentiles to worship with the Lord's people.
[27](Deuteronomy 32:42) “I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy.”

[28](1 Samuel 17:58) “And Saul said to him, Whose son art thou, thou young man? And David answered, I am the son of thy servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.” 
[29](Isaiah 11.10) “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.” The Messiah will be a banner, attracting the Gentiles to Himself, and the seat of His authority will be glorious.

[30](Psalm 2) 1Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 2The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, 3Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. 4He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. 5Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. 6Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. 7I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. 8Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. 9Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
10Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. 11Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

[30](1 Peter 1:3) “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
[31](Romans 5:1-2) “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” The first great benefit enjoyed by those of us who have been justified by faith is peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. The war is over. Hostilities have ceased. Through the work of Christ all causes of enmity between our souls and God have been removed. We have been changed from foes to friends by a miracle of grace.

Also we enjoy access into an indescribable position of favor with God. We are accepted in the Beloved One; therefore we are as near and dear to God as His own Beloved Son. The Father extends the golden scepter to us and welcomes us as sons, not strangers. This grace, or standing in favor, embraces every aspect of our position before God, a position that is as perfect and permanent as Christ’s because we are in Him.

As if that were not enough, we also rejoice in hope of the glory of God. This means that we joyfully look forward to the time when we will not only gaze on the splendor of God, but will ourselves be manifested in glory (see John 17:22; Col. 3:4). We cannot comprehend the full significance of that hope here on earth, nor will we get over the wonder of it through all eternity.

[32(1 Samuel 1:9) “So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the LORD.”
[33](1 Samuel 3:3) “And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep;”
[34](2 Sam. 22:7) “In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears.”
[35](Ephesians 1:13-14) “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

[36](Romans 8:24) “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?”

 

 

Make a Free Website with Yola.