Romans 15:5, 13, 33
Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like minded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:…
The God of patience and consolation; "the God of hope;" "the God of peace." The great object of Christ's coming into the world was to save sinners. He does this by revealing God. He is Emmanuel, "God with us." "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." Christ reveals the Divine character. He reveals it in his teaching - the Divine holiness. He reveals it in his cross - the Divine mercy. He reveals it in his resurrection - the Divine power. Christ saves us also by reproducing or restoring in us the image of God. In the renewed nature God becomes part of us. He dwells in us and we in him. The law of heredity emphasizes the fact that children bear not only the bodily, but the mental and moral characteristics of their parents. The character of the parent reappears in the child. So the character of God reappears in his people. Three features of God's character St. Paul speaks of here, and wants his readers to think of them in relation to their own character and life.
I. THE GOD OF PATIENCE.
1. The Divine Being manifests patience in waiting. He waits patiently for the fulfilment of his plans. Thousands of years he waited for the sending of the Saviour. All that time he occupied in the training of Israel, and in the preparing of the nations, till, at the time when Jesus came, the world was ripe and ready for his coming. What a lesson for us! How impatient we are! If we do not see immediate results, we think our work is a failure. "Let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."
2. The Divine Being is patient in enduring. How he bore with Israel, with all Israel's backsliding and. repeated sins! How he bears with us, with our disobedience and our inconsistencies! His patience with us is in marked contrast with our impatience toward our fellow-men. How impatient we are with our subordinates or our fellow-workers, with the slowness and stupidity which they sometimes manifest! Let us imitate the patience of God. We need to learn how to bear with others. Strife is the result of impatience, of intolerance. Unity is the result of patience. This was the apostle's idea, and his practical purpose in referring to the patience of God. "The God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded one toward another according to Christ Jesus" (ver. 5). Let us be patient in enduring all suffering and trial.
"Angel of patience! sent to calm
Our feverish brows with cooling palm;
To lay the storms of hope and fear,
And reconcile life's smile and tear;
The throbs of wounded pride to still,
And make our own our Father's will!
"There's quiet in that angel's glance,
There's rest in his still countenance!
He mocks no grief with idle cheer,
Nor wounds with words the mourner's ear;
But ills and woes he may not cure,
He kindly trains us to endure.
"O thou who mournest on the way
With longings for the close of day:
He walks with thee, that angel kind,
And gently whispers; 'Be resigned;
Bear up; bear on; the end shall tell
The dear Lord ordereth all things well.'"
II. THE GOD OF HERE. Nature is full of hope. Day follows night. Spring follows winter.
"And ever upon old decay
The greenest mosses cling." The life of humanity is a life of hope. We are always looking forward. The little child looks forward eagerly to its school-days. The boy or girl at school looks forward to the time of manhood or womanhood. In hope the young man leaves his father's roof. Hope leads the emigrant across the seas. Yet nature and humanity unaided have no hope beyond the grave. The ancient heathen had indeed their goddess of hope. But the lamp of hope flickered as old age came on, and expired with the last breath that left the body. The heathen symbol of death is the broken column, or the torch of life turned upside down. But our God is in truth the God of hope. Do we enjoy life? He tells us of a better life beyond. Is this world fair and beautiful? He tells us of a better country, even an heavenly. Are we weary with the toils and burdens of this life? He tells us that there remaineth a rest for the people of God. Hope in itself can hardly with strictness be called a part of the Divine character, any more than faith. But it is part of the Divine character, and peculiar to it, that he produces in the human heart hope of the life to come. Hence he is truly called "the God of hope." We see the impress and influence of his Divine hope on God's people in all ages. Abraham and the patriarchs "confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth." And "they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country." The prophets in Israel's exile spoke of a hope which they knew they would never see fulfilled. The apostles and martyrs, and the missionaries of today, have laboured and suffered in hope. Here also is the practical influence of the Divine character in relation to the human. "The God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope (ver. 13). In sorrow: in adversity; in the day when the wicked seem to triumph, and injustice and oppression seem to gain the upper hand - Christians, hope on! The truth will prevail over falsehood and error; purity over impurity; righteousness over wickedness. Abound in hope!
We hope in thee, O God,
In whom none hope in vain;
We cling to thee in love and trust,
And joy succeeds to pain." To the sinner also the message of Divine hope extends. "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."
III. THE GOD OF PEACE. "The God of peace be with you all" (ver. 33). Peace is essentially a part of the Divine character. No storms disturb his rest. No sinfulness is in his being, and therefore no conflict in his moral nature. If the God of peace is with us, then peace will pervade our own spirit and life. There will be not only the peace that comes from pardon, but also the peace that comes from the victory over indwelling and besetting sin. There is a striking phrase in the next chapter: "The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly" (Romans 16:20). If the God of peace is in our hearts, we shall cultivate peace with our fellow-men. "Live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you" (2 Corinthians 13:11). Thus we see how profitable it is to contemplate the character of God, the God of patience, the God of hope, the God of peace, so that endurance and forbearance, hopefulness and joy, unity and peace, may be manifest in our lives. - C.H.I.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: