Friday after the Third Sunday after Epiphany
Posted on January 27, 2023 byunder
Scripture: Romans 15:14-21 (NKJV)
15:14 Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. 15 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written more boldly to you on some points, as reminding you, because of the grace given to me by God, 16 that I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. 17 Therefore I have reason to glory in Christ Jesus in the things which pertain to God. 18 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient—19 in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. 20 And so I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man’s foundation, 21 but as it is written:
“To whom He was not announced, they shall see; And those who have not heard shall understand.”
No matter who does the outward work, if it is faithful and righteous in God’s Word, His Spirit is causing the work. We confess in the Small Catechism, concerning the 3rd Article of the Creed, that it is the Spirit that enlightens and empowers us to all things that are faithful.
If we act in vanity and self-will, we get the credit for that. Prideful sin points toward ourselves, and it serves the will of the father of lies. That is why demons and lawless, wicked men can say that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,” but they are still strangers and enemies to the kingdom of God.
St. Paul makes his distinctions about the work of the Ministry and evangelism here because he is trying to keep the focus on Christ and His salvation for all nations. The Apostle is trying to keep his hearers focused on the Gospel and the Holy Spirit rather than on distracting debates about man’s accomplishments. As we saw in our Lord’s teaching in Luke 17, a humble servant does not seek his own comfort, glory, or will. He simply does what is commanded and he lets the Master be glorified in any good order that comes from the work.
God lays the foundation for all good things in Jesus Christ. He forgives our sins and renews us by His Spirit. From that foundation, all other service and good works are done in obedience to our good Lord, even if such things are done for wicked men or enemies.
Prayer: Almighty and Everlasting God, mercifully look upon our infirmities, and in all our dangers and necessities, stretch forth the right hand of Thy Majesty, to help and defend us; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.