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. (Romans 15:14)
Confidence In The Saints
There are many traits desired for the children of God, and Paul illuminates three of those in his letter to the saints in Rome. While the letter is a heavy, doctrinal treatise of difficult subjects directed toward justification by faith in the atoning work of Christ, the apostle finishes his letter with strong admonitions to offer one’s life as a living sacrifice to God. Included in his final thoughts are three commendations that should frame the life of every Christian. Paul is confident in the Roman saints to exhibit three characteristics that will help build up the local church and help saints grow in Christ. It is important to identify a sense of confidence in others to exhort them to keep the faith. Many things are seeking to discourage the spirits of God’s people. Satan knows that if he can cause despair in the hearts of the saved, he can have sway in their lives. Paul would have none of it. He was confident in the Roman Christians. In his letter, he told them he was persuaded and convinced they could be examples of faith. The Roman saints needed to know that Paul had that kind of trust in their measure of faith. Emboldened by this courageous spirit, the church in Rome could abound in good works.
Paul uses three admonitions to strengthen the faith of the Christians. He knew they were full of goodness. The saints in Rome were kind, benevolent, and ready to do the work of the Lord with love. There was a spirit of unity in the Roman church because of the goodness they had for one another and their concern for others. The gospel spread to the household of Caesar as a direct result of the goodness of the Roman brethren. Paul does not commend the brethren because of their goodness but how full they were to show goodness to all men. The world is dark and foreboding, with little kindness and goodness shown to one another. One of the hallmarks of the Christian faith is the goodness that fills the hearts of its people. The world needs to see a congregation filled with love, goodness, benevolence, and concern. Individual Christians in a community can do much to bring people to Christ when they show goodness at the workplace, in stores, in the neighborhood, and in family life.
Secondly, Paul commends the Roman saints for being filled with all knowledge. He did not suggest they did not need more knowledge, but they were known as ‘people of the book.’ It was evident in the Roman church that the saints loved God’s word and thrived upon its precepts and principles. The spirit of devotion was fully evident in their knowledge of the truth. They continued to hunger and thirst for the word of God. Paul’s letter was a tough discipline of divine law, but these saints had proven themselves worthy of taking his letter and making themselves better because of it. Paul wrote a challenging book in the Roman letter, but he had confidence in how the brethren would receive his letter. There was a time the Lord’s church was known as people of the book who knew much about its content. Sadly, that no longer seems to be the case. One of the great needs in the church is for the members to be filled with all knowledge. The Roman church must be a pattern for the modern church to follow.
Finally, Paul commends the Roman saints for their love for one another. He commends their spirit of admonishing one another. Being filled with goodness and all knowledge, the saints showed the love of God with their love for another. At the end of his letter, Paul mentions thirty-five saints who had encouraged and exhorted him. He knew how important those relationships of congregational unity are to the cause of Christ when brethren dwell together in harmony. The church in Rome was made up of people who did not get easily offended by others. They enjoyed helping one another grow in Christ, building one another up in the faith, and sharing the gospel with others. If there was a need for correction, the saints accepted the admonition gracefully. Teaching was done in love, and the acceptance of instruction was received with love. The Roman church was a spiritual bastion of goodness, knowledge, and love. Something we should all strive for.