What is Your Christ History? (Reading Romans 15)

Romans 15 and 16 are Paul’s Christ history. These chapters teach us that there are many things about Paul that were solely defined by Christ. So many things Paul writes ring with a “because of Christ, I . . .” sort of rhythm. He creates this list to share his heart and inspire our walk.

Because of Jesus Christ Paul says we can bear with the failings of other people and not please ourselves (v. 1). People are difficult, especially people who seem to infringe on our faith. Paul describes them as weak. Yet, because of Jesus, you can deal with it. Why? “For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, ‘The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me (v. 3).”

Because of Jesus you can be full of hope. The very essence of Jesus’ mission was to bring the knowledge of the name of God to the Gentiles and to confirm the promises of God to the Jews. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope (v. 13).”

Because of Jesus you can instruct others. It was the grace of God working in Paul’s life that filled him with knowledge and thus the ability to write an incredible letter of instruction to the Romans (v. 14). The work of Christ in Paul’s life gave his words weight.

Because of Jesus you can witness to others who have never heard His name. Paul says that it is his ongoing dynamic relationship to Jesus as well as his understanding of the plan of God to spread the gospel to the nations that compels him to go to the most difficult and unsuitable environments to share the message. “And thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named (v. 20a).”

Throughout his epistles Paul creates a list of things he has done and will do for the sake of Jesus Christ. He has suffered shipwreck and he is willing to go to prison, why, because Christ has so inspired Paul to do so. In Jesus Christ Paul saw the ultimate example of willingness, humility, obedience, love, and inspiration. There was nothing that could challenge Paul that he could not overcome because of the example of Christ. Paul could deal with his enemies because Jesus did. Paul could go to great lengths to reach the lost because Jesus did. Paul could control his own ambitions and desires because Jesus did. There is not much about the life of Paul that he could not trace back to simply, “I do, because Jesus did.”

So what is your Christ history? When it comes to self control do you draw inspiration from the life of Christ? What examples can you cite of going to great lengths to reach someone with the gospel simply because Jesus did? How many times have you been able to constructively deal with a brother who has infringed on your faith because “Christ did not please himself?”

What is your Christ history? If you were writing Romans 15, what would it say?


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