The most powerful argument for Christian conduct is the example of Christ. He pleased not Himself. The injunction to receive one another is an injunction addressed to Jews and Gentiles. Throughout the letter the apostle had defended the Gentile against the self-satisfied national pride of the Jew, and the Jew against the probable contempt of the Gentile. This is the final injunction on the subject.
Paul closed his argument with a benediction, "The God of hope." What a wonderful title, suggesting that God is the reason for all the hope that brightens the way, and that because He is Himself full of hope. The Christian should be the greatest optimist because of the optimism of God.
Thus having ended the epistle as it was concerned with its great statement of doctrine, and the application thereof to life, the apostle turned to personal matters. Concerning the triumph of the Gospel, he declared, "Christ wrought through me." How glorious a commentary on the true position of the Christian worker! In speaking of his appointment, the apostle used language which indicates a phase of priestly office too often lost sight of. He had ministered the Gospel so that there had been an "offering up" of the Gentiles. Too often the priests of the Lord stand empty handed in the holy place in this respect.
Very touching and beautiful was his request for their prayers. Notice the subjects he suggested for prayer. First, that he "may be delivered from them that are disobedient in Judea." Then also that his ministration, that contribution he is taking from the churches of Asia, may be acceptable. These prayers were most assuredly answered. Yet how often the answer to prayer differs from our expectations. What matters it if it be "through the will of God? That was the qualifying petition which was finally answered. It is this confidence which lends power to this closing benediction, "May the God of peace be with you all. Amen."
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34