Romans 15:14-16 meaning

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Romans 15:14
  • Romans 15:15
  • Romans 15:16

The Roman believers’ faith was already famous throughout the world and Paul knew they were living righteously by their reputation. He explains that he wrote this letter to make sure they would continue to pursue God through faith, not religious rules, and he defends his role as a minister to Gentiles. His gospel is God’s gospel, and his teaching is meant to sanctify the Gentiles.

Paul reassures his audience of Roman believers that he is fully confident that they are living righteously and harmoniously by faith. He is convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another. He has not written this letter to instruct them in things they weren’t already doing (Romans 1:8). He tells them they are full of goodness, knowledgeable, and able to instruct each other.

Paul does clarify, however, that he knowingly has written certain points to remind them, to edify them in their growth. He has written very boldly to you on some points so as to remind you again, because of the grace that was given me from God. This “bold writing” hearkens back to Paul’s rebuke of the competing Jewish “authorities” in Rome, who were slandering his gospel (Romans 3:8). Paul’s objectors tried to discredit him, saying that Paul’s teaching of the gospel of grace meant believers ought to sin all the time because then God’s grace would increase in forgiving us continuously and that would glorify God by showing His grace. By framing Paul’s teaching this way, the objectors sought to discredit Paul’s teaching of grace. These competing Gentile “authorities” argued that the answer was for the Roman believers to return to the law and obey rules to prove their righteousness. But Paul made clear that this argument of the competing Jewish “authorities” contradicts the gospel.

Paul makes it clear that he is only able to right boldly to the Gentile believers because of the grace that was given to him. Before Paul became a believer he had persecuted the church and tried to destroy it. He knows that is only because of God’s grace to him that he was given the mission of taking the gospel to and ministering to the Gentiles.

So, throughout this letter, Paul has both discredited their slander and displayed what true righteousness looks like. The law from the Old Testament never brought righteousness to anyone, only more sin, because we humans are incapable of following it perfectly. The more rules there are, the more opportunities there are to break them. Instead, Christ died for us, and by believing in Him we are justified in the presence of God and redeemed from our sin. Now, in living out our resurrection life, we are called to live by faith and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14). Although it is true that we cannot out-sin the grace of God, Paul has made it clear we should avoid sin and live the resurrected life because it is in our best interest.

At the beginning of the letter, Paul thanked God for the famous faith of the Roman believers. He knew they were living righteously by faith already, but he also knew their faith was under threat because of the slanderers in Rome, so he wrote this letter not only to defeat that slander but to remind the Roman believers of the truth of the gospel, which they were already practicing.

The final reason Paul gives for writing this letter is that it’s his job. In verse 16, Paul says he is a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, so that my offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. His life purpose is to spread the gospel of grace to the Gentiles and teach them to live righteously. Jesus appointed Paul to this task, and Paul is doing his best to complete it (Acts 9:1-19).

Biblical Text

14 And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another. 15 But I have written very boldly to you on some points so as to remind you again, because of the grace that was given me from God, 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, so that my offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

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