Opportunity to depend on the Spirit’s power

Christ Community Church   -  

Romans 15:9-13

As it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.” And again it is said, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.” And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him.” And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.”
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Attentive reading of the letter to the Roman Christians reveals that the Jewish disciples of Jesus, even in the empire’s capitol city, were struggling with the inclusion of the believing Gentiles. In the early chapters of Romans, Paul levels the playing field. “All have sinned. All need righteousness. All obtain it through faith apart from works. All raised to new life in Christ. And all walk with God in the power of the Spirit.”

There are no “classes” within the body of Christ (Cf. Gal.3:28). Which is why Paul’s finishing words in this letter are so much fun, so profoundly encouraging. He underscores repeatedly how much access to joy there is for the Gentiles in Jesus. Non-Jewish believers — all of them from anywhere — get to celebrate the Root of Jesse. Paul’s benediction exudes the hope we have through the power of the Holy Spirit. He is the one who fills us to the brim with joy and peace in believing, even when the circumstances of our life are tough. He is the one who causes hope to abound (i.e., to flourish, overflow, teem plentifully) despite the sobering challenges.

Are you accessing the power of the Holy Spirit’s presence and flow in your life these days? Especially in the tough stuff? The Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkein said, ““The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.” Yet the hope sourced in God’s Spirit is more than a muse that “the fair” will somehow prevail. It is a settled confidence in the fact that the hope He gives is a hope grounded in divine promises that are sure to prevail. Our Lord Jesus is soon to return, and with Him, an age of joy and glory.