Romans 15:8
The apostle tries further to heal any existing differences between the various sections of the Christian community at Rome, and still further to enforce the duties of charity, self-denial, and mutual helpfulness, by reminding them of how much they have in common. This is the true method of uniting Christians. Some Christians think they will succeed in bringing others to their view of the truth by exposing the errors of those who differ from them. Consequently, we have bitter controversies between the various denominations, because Christians will persist in emphasizing the points on which they differ, rather than the points - often far more numerous and more important - on which they . agree. To draw nearer to Christ, and to draw one another nearer to Christ, this is the true eirenicon.

I. THEIR MUTUAL RELATIONSHIP TO CHRIST. "Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us" (ver. 7). Both have been received by Christ: why not, then, by one another? Why should our views of Episcopacy or Presbytery, Calvinism or Arminianism, interfere with our relationship as brethren in Christ? St. Paul shows that both Jews and Gentiles have a direct personal interest in Christ and relationship to him. "Jesus Christ was a Minister of the circumcision" (ver. 8). Therefore the Jew should not look upon Jesus of Nazareth as an alien, but as his kinsman according to the flesh. He came not to destroy the Law, but to fulfil. But because he is a Jew, he is not, therefore, without an interest in the Gentiles. The apostle shows how even the Jewish writings looked forward to an incorporation of the Gentiles with the people of God, and to their sharing the blessings which the Messiah was to confer (vers. 10-12). "In him shall the Gentiles trust." How precious, then, should be the Name of Jesus to all the children of humanity! How the universal brotherhood of Christians is here enforced!

II. THEIR MUTUAL RELATIONSHIP TO THE GOSPEL, Not only was it predicted that both Jews and Gentiles would be joint partakers in the benefits of the Messiah's kingdom, but in actual fact the gospel has come to both. St. Paul, who was himself a Jew, experienced the blessings of the gospel. He, in his turn, communicated those blessings to the Gentiles. He was "the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God" (ver. 16). Truly, the gospel is a great reconciler. How it breaks down the prejudices of race and class and caste! Let the gospel only become a real, living power in our own heart and life, and we shall go forth, like St. Paul, to share its blessings with others, winning them by a spirit of love, no matter what our prejudices against them may have been.

III. THEIR DUTY OF MUTUAL HELPFULNESS. At the time of writing this Epistle St. Paul was on an errand which gave practical proof of the mutual sympathy between Gentile and Jewish Christians. He was on his way to Jerusalem (ver. 25). He was taking with him a contribution which the Gentile Christians of Macedonia and Achaia had made for their Jewish brethren at Jerusalem, who at this time were in poverty (ver. 26). He takes the occasion to say that this act of generosity, cheerfully performed, was indeed a Christian duty. For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things" (vet, 27). Here is a reason for missionary efforts among the Jews. They have been the channel through which blessings have flowed to us: shall we not be the channel through which the blessings of the gospel shall flow to them? Here is a reason for the support of the Christian ministry. It is wise and prudent that those who are to be teachers and preachers of the Word, and pastors of the flock, should devote themselves to that work only. How, then, are they to be supported? By the generosity of those to whom they minister. If the latter are "partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things." Such mutual helpfulness all Christians ought to cultivate towards one another. - C.H.I.







Now... Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision.
I. HE MINISTERED UNDER IT.

1. As a Jew.

2. In conformity with the law.

3. To the Jews.

II. UNFOLDED ITS MEANING. As the truth of God.

III. CONFIRMED ITS PROMISES,

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

1. Old and New Testaments.

2. Jew and Gentile.

3. God and man.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

I. TO THE JEW.

1. The example of perfect righteousness.

2. The witness of the truth of God.

3. The Fulfiller of the Old Testament.

II. TO THE GENTILE.

1. The personal manifestation of God's mercy.

2. The reconciler of Jew and Gentile in one brotherhood.

3. The Mediator of the New Covenant.

III. TO ALL MANKIND.

1. The source of hope.

2. The Prince of joy and peace.

3. The dispenser of the Holy Ghost.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

That the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy
1. Part of God's original purpose.

2. Predicted by the prophets.

3. Accomplished in Christ.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

I.WHEREIN IT CONSISTS.

II.FOR WHOM IT IS DESIGNED.

III.HOW MUST IT BE MADE KNOWN?

IV.WHAT IS ITS EFFECT?

1. Glory to God.

2. Joy among men.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

1. Respect the mercy of God.

2. Are elicited by its proclamation.

3. Shall be universal — rising from many hearts — in many tongues.

4. Are especially due to Christ.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with His people
In certain circumstances it is necessary to commit particular privileges to the custody of the few, in order that when the fulness of time shall have come such advantages may be the heritage of the many. It is not in human nature, however, to desire to share great blessings with the multitude. The spirit of monopoly is more or less natural to us all. It is one of the many ugly forms of selfishness showing itself wherever there is an advantage, say — power, territory, wealth, position, fame, knowledge —which the hand of man can grasp. Now, the extraordinary privileges which the children of Abraham possessed during many centuries made them selfish and exclusive. They did not desire that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs. It was reserved to the Son of God to make that common which had been exclusive and that universal which had been local. Referring to this the apostle saith in our text, quoting from one of the prophets, "Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with His people." The day upon which the angels sang, "Peace on earth and goodwill amongst men," the day upon which God's Son said, "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son," the day on which He charged the apostles to go into all the world, the day when Philip met the eunuch, and Peter visited Cornelius, and Paul turned his steps towards the Gentiles, were as early spring days in the history of the nations, giving promise that the dark and barren times of ignorance were well nigh gone, and that the desert should rejoice and blossom as the rose.

I. THE DUTY OF CHRISTIAN EXALTATION'. What are our characteristic advantages as Christians?

1. To live under no ban or system of exclusion, as far as God's providence is concerned, is cause for rejoicing. Jerusalem is no longer the place where men ought to worship. Palestine is no longer the chosen land. All the earth is hallowed ground.

2. To be turned from idols to the one true and living God is cause for rejoicing. He who worships the God who is Light becomes light. He who worships the Holy becomes holy. He who worships the God who is Love becomes love.

3. To have God speaking to us is cause for rejoicing. And God doth speak to us, Christians, by His Holy Spirit and by His Word.

4. To have a sin-offering which we may appropriate as for our sins is also cause for rejoicing.

5. To have God not only permit our worship, but seek it, is also cause for joy.

6. Moreover, not less should we rejoice in this, that Gentiles as well as Jews have become the people of God.

II. THIS POSITION INVOLVES CERTAIN OBLIGATIONS. What are they? All men need the power and the riches of the Christian dispensation. No man is above the need of Christianity. No man is below its reach. Civilisation cannot take the place of the Christian dispensation. No being can make the Gentile rejoice but Jesus Christ. It strikes me that before we can pray more, give more, do more, we must rejoice more in our own privileges. Our advantages, as Christians, must be more real to us. There is great danger, not only of our underrating our own Christian advantages, but of our selfishly resting in the enjoyment of our privileges. Oh! exorcise the Jewish exclusive spirit. Exclusiveness and Christianity are as inconsistent as any two things can be. Say to others, "Rejoice with me."

(S. Martin.)

And again Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse... in Him shall the Gentiles trust
The Messiah, in prophecy, was to have dominion over the whole earth. In the preceding sentences the apostle quotes several passages relative to the admission of the Gentiles, with a view to conciliate the Jews. God, as he had previously argued, is the God, not of the Jews only, but of the Gentiles also; and Isaiah had distinctly predicted the Messiah as "a root of Jesse," which, though it might appear as "a root in a dry ground," spoiled of its branches, and without appearance of its vegetating, should yet "stand for an ensign to the people." "He that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, in Him shall the Gentiles trust." Consider —

I. THE PRINCIPLE OF TRUST.

1. This is necessary to the existence of society. The evidence of character is not the cause of our confidence in others: the first instance of trust cannot be accounted for, but as the result of Divinely implanted instinct. Children instinctively confide in their parents. All our information concerning external objects is matter of trust. The patient trusts his physician, the subject his governor; all are always trusting each other. Nothing can be more anti-social or mischievous than the violation of trust.

2. Trust supposes our own inferiority. We trust, for instruction or protection, in one whom we regard as our superior in respect to each: our reliance on him is the measure of our self-distrust.

3. What, then, is it for which the Gentiles trust the Messiah? Not for any present interest, but for our eternal destiny: it is that we may escape an evil and attain a good, not otherwise possible.

II. THE QUALIFICATIONS THAT JUSTIFY OUR TRUST. Three things are required as the basis of our confidence in any being: his voluntary engagement? his probity and goodness; and his ability to fulfil the promised undertaking. Each of these exists perfect in Christ.

1. He has entered into a voluntary engagement; He has held Himself forth as the object of our trust. "I give unto My sheep," He says, "eternal life." "Every one that believeth in Me, I will raise him up at the last day."

2. His probity and goodness cannot be questioned. He bears all the marks of perfect ingenuousness; as when we find Him entreating His hearers to count the cost of becoming His disciples; or when He says, "If it were not so, I would have told you." He looked upon our race with a Divine compassion, put on our flesh, toiled, agonised, bled, and died. He was free to have left such a work alone; but He engaged in it that God might be just and sinners justified. We cannot question His sincerity or benignity.

3. Nor can we distrust His power. Can He who calmed the winds, walked the waves, raised the dead, etc., be supposed insufficient here? He who foretold the destruction of Jerusalem, the sufferings of His people, the triumph of His cause, must Himself be King of kings and Lord of lords. By rising from the dead, He proves that He has all power in earth and heaven.

III. SOME LEADING PROPERTIES OF THIS TRUST IN JESUS. To be valid and saving it must be —

1. A solemn, deliberate act; the effect of "seeing the Son," recognising in Him those qualities which justify unlimited confidence. You should "know whom you have believed," etc.

2. Exclusive, centred in Christ alone (Jeremiah 17:5). Trust not in any qualities or works of your own. He will never divide His glory with another. It was the ruin of the Jews, that they went about to establish their own righteousness, while the Gentiles, ignorant of the whole business, found Him whom they sought not.

3. Humble and penitential. We must acknowledge and feel our utter unworthiness; otherwise we contradict our profession. Humility and confidence dwell together in perfect harmony.

4. Submissive and obedient. They are the foremost to fulfil the law of Christ, who place their entire affiance in Him: constrained by His love, which constrained Him to die for them, they bind His precepts on their hearts. It is a practical trust, that sets in motion all the springs of action, purifies all the powers and affections: for Christ saves by His merit those only whom He rules by His authority.

(R. Hall, M.A.)

I. THE GRAND TENDENCY OF THE RACES. To trust.

1. What creature is more dependent on nature than man? Birds, beasts, and fishes can do without him, but he is dependent upon them.

2. What creature is more dependent upon his own species? Man comes into the world the most helpless of all creatures. For years he lives by the help of others. No one is independent of his fellow.

3. What creature is more dependent on God? All live in and by Him; but man requires more from Him than any other creature, viz., spiritual illumination, strength, salvation. No wonder, then, that a being so dependent should crave for objects on which to rely. This tendency to trust explains —(1) The reign of imposture. The power of Mahomet, Confucius, the Pope, and priestcraft is begotten and nourished by man's tendency to trust.(2) The prevalence of disappointments. Why otherwise is every heart the grave of so many frustrated hopes, broken plans, and wrecked friendships? The great need of the world, therefore, is a trustworthy object.

II. THE EVANGELIC PROVISION FOR THE RACE.

1. What attributes ought He to have to make all happy who trust in Him?(1) He should be all perfect in excellence. If we trust our being and destiny to the keeping of one in whom we discover moral imperfections, we shall soon grow wretched in the exercise of such trust.(2) He should be all-sufficient in resources. If we trust unboundingly in one who is not capable of taking care of us, our trust will end in agony.(3) He should be unalterable in being, character, and capacity. If we trust one who is given to change, there will be constant misgiving.

2. Now, where is the being who answers these conditions? Only in the gospel.(1) Is not Christ all-perfect, the incarnation of virtue itself?(2) Has He not all-sufficient resources? He is all-wise to guide, all-powerful to guard, all-good to bless. He is able to do "exceedingly abundant," etc.(3) Is He not unchangeable, "the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever"?

III. THE BLESSED FUTURE OF THE RACE. "In Him shall the Gentiles trust." This prediction has been partially fulfilled. Since Peter's sermon in the house of Cornelius down to this hour Gentiles have been trusting in Him. The partial fulfilment is a pledge that all men shall trust in Him. What harvests have already sprung from the one grain. When all men trust in Him, three things will be secured.

1. Spiritual peace. "He will keep them in perfect peace," etc.

2. Social unity. All men will be united to each other by being thus united to Christ. No more domestic broils, social animosities, national conflicts, or ecclesiastical strifes.

3. Moral elevation. All men being thus vitally connected with Christ, will become more and more assimilated to His moral attributes.Conclusion: Learn —

1. The world's need of the gospel. If men's destiny depends upon the object of their trust and Christ is the only object of trust that can render them happy, then is not the gospel a necessity?

2. The way to preach the gospel. It is to hold Him forth, not yourself, nor your notions and theologies, hut Christ as the object of the world's trust. The hungry world does not want your analysis of bread, but the "bread of life" itself. Humanity does not want our speculation about Christ, but Christ Himself.

(D. Thomas, D.D.)

1. Man must have an object of trust.

2. Christ is the only ground of trust.

3. Shall become the trust of the world.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

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