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How is it that we persevere? How will we become mature? How will live in harmony?

Our will power can get us so far. That is dangerous in the long run. My will power isn’t good enough though. It is God who gives me the endurance to go all the way. God is in control. This is His world (Kingdom). Do I trust Him? Did He bring me this far to leave me now? No, He did not.

All along, He is there with me encouraging us. He cheers us on. He whispers in our ear. He holds our hand when we need it. He picks us up. He claps when we keep going. Loud “Whoo Hoos” ring in the air as shouts when we make it. He is steady in such a deep way.

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Jesus doesn’t make it easy for us. We learn by wading into problems, not avoiding them. And we need to persevere. We need to be steady in our approach.

  • That’s exactly what Jesus did. He didn’t make it easy for himself by avoiding people’s troubles, but waded right in and helped out.
  • “I took on the troubles of the troubled,” is the way Scripture puts it.
  • Even if it was written in Scripture long ago, you can be sure it’s written for us.
  • God wants the combination of his steady, constant calling and warm, personal counsel in Scripture to come to characterize us, keeping us alert for whatever he will do next.

For the Messiah did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with the Messiah Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Master Jesus the Messiah.[1]

Romans 15:3-6

The ultimate goal of this instruction is “hope.” Why bring hope into the discussion here? Perhaps the allusion to suffering leads Paul to remind us of the outcome of that suffering. But he may also introduce the concept of hope as a subtle reminder to the strong at Rome—mainly Gentile Christians—that they were once “without hope” in the world but have now been integrated into God’s people by grace. To preserve their hope, they must work for the health and unity of God’s people, the basis for their hope.

Paul cited “endurance” and “encouragement” as two specific traits fostered by the Scriptures that will culminate in hope. He picks up these two words at the beginning of his “prayer-wish” to God on behalf of the squabbling Roman believers. He prays specifically that God himself will grant to the community the ability “to think the same way”. Considering his insistence that the weak not change their minds until their own faith leads them to do so, it is unlikely that Paul is praying here that all the Roman believers will come to the same opinion on the matters at issue. Rather, he is praying that they may possess a unity of purpose that transcends these differences.

It is a unity and way of thinking that is “according to the Messiah Jesus”—that is, a unity founded on and modeled after the Messiah. But unity is not the goal. Unity is simply one stage on the way to the church’s final purpose: to praise God. Only when believers cease to quarrel with one another and speak with one heart and one voice will they be able to praise God as they should.[2]

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ro 15:3–6). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[2] Moo, D. J. (2000). Romans (pp. 471–472). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.