Saturday, 18 January 2014
Nevertheless, brethren, I have written more boldly to you on some points, as reminding you, because of the grace given to me by God, Romans 15:15
Paul had just said this to the Romans in the previous verse –
“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.”
Having said this, he now states, “nevertheless.” He will make a firm addition to the kind words which he just spoke in the thought he is about to impart. In essence, “Despite my confidence in you and your abilities, I have to say the following….”
“I have written more boldly to you on some points…” He acknowledges that despite their knowledge and ability to discern what is correct and to pass it on to others, he has engaged in some very strong and weighty issues in a way which was quite forthright and which could possibly even be considered overbearing to the recipients. And he did this “on some points.” The term used here is apo meros and is actually debated as to what he is referring to. Two options are considered –
1) Some of the points noted in his epistles were direct and forthright, or
2) He was direct and forthright to a portion of the letter’s recipients (i.e. Jew or Gentile, or possibly the “weaker in the faith” and the “stronger brethren.”)
Either way, Paul’s words were not intended as a bold rebuke, but rather as bold instruction. Were they a rebuke, he certainly wouldn’t have been as generous in his wording of the previous verse. Though bold, he desires it to be known that his words were simply a way of reminding the Roman church “because of the grace given to” him by God.
He had stated his apostleship, defended his calling, and noted that as the appointed “apostle to the Gentiles” he was serving in a priestly role to them. He was providing the instruction of God to the people of God, including clarification of spiritual matters. This was the role of the priestly class in the Old Testament and he had been called to this role in the New.
It should be noted that in times past he could not have been given these duties because he was of the tribe of Benjamin and priestly duties were once given only to the tribe of Levi. But in Christ, who descended in his human genealogy from Judah, a new order of priesthood had come about. As John states to the believers in Revelation 1:5,6 , without distinction of tribe or nationality, “To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever.”
Paul certainly then filled this priestly role within the confines of the New Covenant and he did so by “the grace of God given to” him. In this position of grace, and in fulfillment of his priestly duties, he imparted his knowledge boldly in an effort to keep the body of believers on the right track concerning their doctrine and practice.
Life application: Paul is the New Testament’s appointed “apostle to the Gentiles.” It is his instruction to which the church is to adhere to during this dispensation. All Scripture is God-breathed and useful for our instruction and edification, but Paul’s writings are the authoritative standard for church-age doctrine and practice. We dismiss his words at the expense of a properly operating and effective body of believers.
Lord Jesus, I am so truly thankful that You were patient with me, allowing me time to have a change in heart and a desire to follow a different path than the one I pursued for so long. Instead of saying, “This one isn’t worth my time” You waited and continued to offer Your peace. Now Lord, use me to get this same message out to those around me. Surely all are worth that same opportunity. Yes, use me in this task, to Your glory. Amen.