The first Christian churches had a serious problem with certain men who wanted to be leaders. These men spoke in an impressive manner, but they were not declaring the truth about Christ (2 Corinthians 11:4). They acted with great authority, but their authority did not come from the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 11:20). They claimed to work for God, but they were actually serving the devil (2 Corinthians 11:12-15). They had been especially active at Corinth, from where Paul wrote the Book of Romans.
Paul too had written very boldly to the Christians at Rome (15:15). So, Paul needed to show that he was not behaving in a proud and powerful manner, like those wrong leaders. Paul himself refused to be proud about anything, except what God had done in his life. However, it was his duty to speak clearly and boldly about the gospel (Godís message about Christ).
In particular, Paul knew that he had a special work to do for God (11:13). He mentions that work in Romans 1:5, and he repeats the same phrase here (15:18). It was to help people from the Gentile nations to obey God. The Gentile nations are all the nations except Israel, Paulís own nation - although Paul was eager to help Israelís people, too (11:13-14). However, in all the Gentile nations, people were serving false gods. So, it was an important and difficult task to bring knowledge of the true God to those nations.
When Gentiles became Christians, Paul was still careful not to be proud. Paul knew that the honour for that success belonged to Christ: Christ had done this wonderful thing, through Paulís work. It was Christ, and not Paul, who died for them. Christ had sent Paul to them with his (Christís) message: Paul did not send himself. Christ had worked in their lives, by the power of his Holy Spirit. Paul had simply obeyed Christ.
Next part: From Jerusalem to Illyricum (Romans 15:19)
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© 2018, Keith Simons.