No Accident of History


Lord, I am grateful for this day with its potentials and privileges. Grant me now your direction and guidance.

READ: Romans 15:8-13

8 For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews[a] on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed 9 and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written:

“Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing the praises of your name.”[b]

10 Again, it says,

“Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people.”[c]

11 And again,

“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles; let all the peoples extol him.”[d]

12 And again, Isaiah says,

“The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope.”[e]

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.


[a] Romans 15:8 Greek circumcision

[b] Romans 15:9 2 Samuel 22:50; Psalm 18:49

[c] Romans 15:10 Deut. 32:43

[d] Romans 15:11 Psalm 117:1

[e] Romans 15:12 Isaiah 11:10 (see Septuagint)

Romans 15:8-13


Living with diversity – whether of race, status, generation, opinion or style – is always challenging. Which does your church struggle with most? Which most enriches it?

Having insisted that the strong and the weak must accept one another as Christ has accepted them (v 7), Paul then sets that challenge in the context of the history of salvation: as they do this, they will be sharing together in Christ’s fulfillment of the promises made by God to the patriarchs generations before (v 8). Finding unity and praising God together (v 6) is fulfilling a promise made in the scriptures, written to teach us and give us hope (v 4). All of the scriptures Paul then quotes to illustrate his point stress either the calling of Israel to the nations (v 9), or the fulfillment of God’s purpose being seen in Israel and the Gentiles praising God together (vs 10–12).

Their being together in Rome, the center of Gentile civilization is, thus, not an accident of history, but the fulfillment of an eternal purpose. As they embrace making their living sacrifice together beyond their differences, Paul trusts in this eternal hope – that the God who spoke it into being throughout the generations will cause them to overflow with hope through the presence and power of his Holy Spirit (v 13).


Revelation 7:9 gives us a vision of salvation being shared by people from ‘every nation, tribe, people and language’. Pray for deeper unity in your church.


Dear God, what a joy it is to be a part of your family. Your will is to bring together, not create barriers. Help me to be a reconciler within the people of God.


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