Paul’s Loving Confidence

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. Nevertheless, brethren, I have written more boldly to you on some points, as reminding you, because of the grace given to me by God, that I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:14-16).

Love believes the best in people. It also hopes for the best (1 Corinthians 13:7).

Paul’s transitional words about how he believes his brethren with strong and weak con­sciences will receive his inspired instruction of how to treat one another is saturated with broth­erly love.

Though he has never been to Rome yet and has not met many of his spiritual brethren there (Romans 1:11-13), Paul believes the very best about them. He expresses his belief that they will welcome God’s word and be doers of it because:

  • He is confident of their goodness. Paul chose to believe they were goodhearted, desiring to do what is right. Thus, he anticipates them welcoming his inspired counsel, not rejecting it.

  • He is confident of their knowledge. Paul did not view them as spiritual ignoramuses. There is no hint of condescension. Though an apostle, he treats his brethren as peers in Christ.

  • He is confident of their ability. Paul does not think them to be spiritual weaklings who will not instruct, encourage, and reprove those whose lives do not measure up to God’s expectations. He believes they are up to the challenging task of admonishing one another.

  • He is confident of their understanding. As an apostle of Jesus Christ and a minister of the gospel, Paul believes they will understand the need for him to be bold and plain spoken in addressing these serious and sensitive spiritual matters. He does not anticipate a reaction of rejection or hurt feelings. He believes his boldness of speech will be wel­comed, not offensive.

The apostle Paul’s practical example of fervent brotherly love is worthy of all acceptance and imitation.

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Author: jchowning

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