#DailyDevotion The Old Testament Encourages & Gives Hope
Romans 15 4All that was written long ago was written to teach us by the endurance and encouragement we get from the Bible to have hope. 5May God, who helps you to endure and encourages you, give you such harmony with one another as you follow Christ Jesus 6that together with one voice you praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7Then, as Christ has welcomed you, welcome one another in order to glorify God.
Many biblical editors and lectionaries think verse 4 starts a new section, and to a large extant that’s true, however verse 3 “Even Christ didn’t please Himself, but it happened to Him as it is written: ‘Those who insult You insult Me.’” as Dr. Gibbs says really sets the tone for the verses that follow. I think in my brief life as a Lutheran, we often nix the concept of Jesus as example because of the error that he is only an example. But to do that is to fall into the opposite error. Jesus is our example as he is the one who has done all these good things to and for us. By the power of that good news, we are then set to follow in his example. The example to follow here in verse three which carries on through the rest of the chapter is Christ didn’t please himself but did everything for us. With that in mind…
We often may wonder if we have the New Testament it is fulfills the Old Testament, why do we need to keep referring back to the Old Testament. Paul gives us one reason here, it “was written to teach us by the endurance and encouragement we get from the Bible to have hope.” It teaches us endurance and encouragement to have hope. From chapter three of Genesis where there is the threat to the serpent and a promise of one to crush his head, through the endurance of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, by the willingness of the Lord to forgive and not wipe out the Israelites in the desert, by a preservation of remnant in Babylon and by the return of the exiles to Jerusalem, we can see a God who forgives sins, who is always willing to have mercy on those who humble themselves before him and that he fulfills his promises.
So we study the Old Testament to see our God, the Father of Lights, the Lord who did all those things and fulfills all those things in Jesus. Paul’s prayer here in verse five is from the Holy Spirit who inspired him to write it so we know the answer to that prayer for us is Amen. God does help us to endure and encourages us through the scriptures to have hope. As we trust in this hope and submit ourselves to his word he creates the harmony with one another as we follow Christ. We follow Christ as we don’t seek to please ourselves but God but submitting ourselves to one another in Christ. In doing this, we will be able as Paul says, “together with one voice you praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” It is only in following Christ and his example by the power of that example that we have a unity of mind and spirit to confess and praise with one voice our God and Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Finally. “as Christ has welcomed you, welcome one another in order to glorify God.” It glorifies God when we put aside our personal differences and welcome one another in Christ. We are not talking about doctrinal differences. But the sins against us by our fellow Christians should not keep us apart. Christ has welcomed you with all your baggage. He asks you to do the same with your brother/sister Christian.
Merciful God and Father, grant us such encouragement and hope through the Scriptures that we may follow Christ’s example of humility that we may praise you and him with one voice. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.