Read This Week: Romans 16

Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith—to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.
– Romans 16:25-27 NIV

In life, we are constantly asking questions of ability. Can we do it? Can we make it happen? Whatever it is, we are regularly examining whether we are able or up to the challenge. When it comes to our spiritual lives and living for God, it is natural to ask the same questions of ourselves. Can we fulfill our purpose? Can we make a difference in the lives of others? Can we keep walking with Jesus in a world that is growing increasingly complex and hostile to people of faith? Are we able to be used to spread the gospel around the globe?

The answer to these questions is yes and no. No, we can’t fulfill God’s purpose for our lives on our own. No, we don’t have the power to bring glory to God on earth in and of ourselves. No, it is too difficult to live for Jesus in our finite strength. But, there is a resounding yes to all of these questions too.

Yes, God has given us an eternal purpose, and what He began, He will finish (Phil. 1:6). Yes, God’s Spirit fuels us with the power to bring glory to Christ in every situation (2 Peter 1:3). Yes, we can not only live for God in the world, but He can use us to do and accomplish more than we could previously imagine without Him (Eph. 3:20). The ultimate answer to our questions of ability is that God is able. Therefore, in Christ, we are able.

This message is Paul’s summary of encouragement in the last chapter of Romans. After commending a lady named Phoebe, a deaconess in the church at Cenchreae and the potential carrier of Paul’s letter to Rome, greeting many others who had been a blessing to him, and issuing another warning against false teachers, he enters into his final words. These words constitute one long sentence that begins with this statement:

Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed…

It is fitting that Paul finishes his letter by praising God and talking about the purpose and power of the gospel. His main point is to give the Romans confidence in the transcendence of Christ and their capacity to do great things in God’s strength as they stand by the word. They should have no doubts about God’s message through Paul and His power to both establish and sustain them. 

These truths are still as effective in the present as they were for the ancient believers. As we trust in God and His promises, we will be secure in Christ and able to fulfill His purposes. We can do His will and complete His plan for the glory of Jesus just as those called long ago. Though we may suffer and face hardship, we can do big things for God as we conform to the likeness of Christ and trust in His gospel. We are able because He is.

God is able. His purpose and power are there when others fail us and doubt surrounds their repeated promises to change. God is able when we feel stuck in life, lose a job, and when our loved ones and family members pass away. God is able when our kids make poor decisions, stray from their upbringing, and break our hearts.

God is able when we feel marginalized, ignored, and like we don’t have a friend in the world. God is able when we’re tempted and moral and ethical dilemmas compound our day. God is able when we’re frustrated, confused, and jaded. God is able when we’re in pain, exhausted, and when life is just fine. 

God encourages us, guards us, watches over us, and attends to our every need. He picks us up when we fall and propels us to keep walking when we want to quit. He is the Maker of heaven and earth and He has limitless power that is available to us every moment of every day. His salvation is eternal, His gospel is peace, and His word is true. Like the Roman Christians, we can do it because God has established us. He is able.

8 Comments

  1. Kathy on September 23, 2020 at 1:24 pm

    This is what God was saying to me in Romans 16. Those who divide My people and those who deceive My people should be avoided. Truth without unity leads to pride. Unity and peace will not last long. You must not wait until everyone is scattered or deceived until you are concerned with dividers and deceivers. Their motives are selfish and fleshly. You must remain diligent against their attacks. Your best defense is to know the good rather than to know the evil.

    If you are ready to give up and all is lost, the God of peace will intervene for you. I will do the crushing of Satan under your feet. Every victory I win for you now is a preview of that. The whole plan of redemption is through Jesus Christ. I call all of you to obedience in faith. What I began in you I will finish. I am able. In Christ, you are able. In trials, you can do big things for Me as you trust in My words, and step out in faith.

    What this said to me was I need to avoid people who will try to deceive and divide me. Be on guard. Be proactive.not reactive. Be diligent. If I feel I am about to give up, God will intercede on my behalf. I am to draw near to Him, and He will draw near to me. I am to trust Him.

    • Jason on September 29, 2020 at 9:50 am

      Great stuff, Kathy! This comment should be the rallying cry for us as Christians as we head to the front lines of life every day:

      What I began in you I will finish. I am able. In Christ, you are able. In trials, you can do big things for Me as you trust in My words, and step out in faith.

      It is comforting, peaceful, assuring, and inspiring to know that the God of the universe has started a good work in us and what He starts, He is faithful to complete every time. He never comes up short, lets us down, or leaves us wanting. If that doesn’t motivate us to put our faith and confidence in Him, I am not sure what will. Thank you for sharing!

  2. almaschmidt on September 24, 2020 at 10:36 pm

    This week, God gave me a song from Romans 16 called “Serving Our Lord”:

    Serving you, serving you, we want to serve you, our Lord
    Spending time together, enjoying one another

    You strengthen our hearts giving us the power
    Spreading your good news

    So let us come together to serve our Lord
    Doing his good works, helping each other
    In his grace, mercy, and everlasting love

    Serving you, serving you, we want to serve you, our Lord. Amen.

    I feel blessed everyday to serve our Lord. He blesses me in so many ways. So let’s stand up and cheer our Lord for he is understanding, patient, joyous, and His Love is everlasting.

    • Jason on September 29, 2020 at 9:45 am

      Alma, this is a wonderful song. As I read your line: Spending time together, enjoying one another, the idea of enjoyment, and the joy of serving God really jumped off the screen and into my heart.

      I know I can forget sometimes what a joy it is to serve God and others and can also lose sight of the fact that God designed life with Him and other people to be enjoyable and life-giving. Thank you for that reflection this week.

  3. Heidi on September 25, 2020 at 9:09 am

    I love Romans 16 for many reasons. I love seeing Paul show how all people matter to Father God! I love how Paul is sharing how all these women were a part of serving God and working hard for the Lord. They love God and want to share the good news to help people in any way they can.

    I love how Paul makes a point of greeting people for God. Especially people who belong to God doing His work and were all on the same team even if we don’t know them personally. If someone says they love God and they are working hard for the Lord, we want to assist them if we can. There is only one God we all belong to Him. And for those who don’t belong yet, we want to show them that God loves them too.

    That’s our purpose here – working for the Lord and spreading the good news s that they can belong to the family of God. Let’s do all we can when we greet people to show that they matter to God. That’s why Jesus came here to save us all. I am so thankful to God for His forever love. We love you so much!

    • Jason on September 29, 2020 at 9:40 am

      Thankful for this, Heidi! Your point about serving others no matter where they are on the journey was helpful and a good reminder of the essence of Christian ministry especially in this current day and age. This stood out to me:

      If someone says they love God and they are working hard for the Lord, we want to assist them if we can. There is only one God we all belong to Him.

      May we have the same heart like Jesus and Paul to assist others on their faith journey and life with God in any way we can and at every opportunity the Lord gives us.

  4. Samuel on September 27, 2020 at 6:15 pm

    Today, we were in Romans chapter 16 and God drew me to verse 20: And the peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. He was saying to me, “We travel the road of life together as one. I am in you and you are in me every step. You have to put all your trust and faith in me to fight your battles; to guide you in the right direction in life. I will take away all the fear of Satan and will stomp him out of your sight and mind.”

    And what that means to me is that with faith, we have to trust our Lord to carry us through our battles and in times of trouble and hardship. We all have a special gift to turn it all over to Him for His wisdom, concern, love, and discernment in all we do in our lives.

    • Jason on September 29, 2020 at 9:37 am

      I really appreciate this word, Sam. It is inspiring and hopeful to read verse 20 over and over again and be reminded of God’s power, protection, and authority over the Enemy. We need to know that He will fight our battles for us now and throughout eternity.

      Thank you for that reflection of God’s special gift to turn it all over to Him for His wisdom, concern, love, and discernment in all we do in our lives.

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