I’m really thankful for the last few verses in Romans 16 where Paul encourages us to not quit, to carry on, to be strengthened in God. He acknowledges that life sometimes can cause us to become weak or tired. Sometimes we can even be prone to throw in the towel. Paul says in these verses that there is a strength that we can gain that helps us to keep going. A strength that helps us to live the Christian Life, to persevere.
This is how he begins the final section of this letter by saying “now to him it was able to strengthen you”, and he then proceeds to give us 4 ways in which we can be strengthened
The first way that we can be strengthened to live the Christian Life is by understanding the gospel. We can get strength from the fact that Jesus has already won all of the battles that will ever take place.
The second way he says that we can be strengthened to live the Christian Life is by preaching the gospel. Now this doesn’t mean that we are preaching in the street or preaching from behind a pulpit. The idea of preaching refers to declaring what is true. How often we need to declare the truth in our own lives. That Jesus has already won and we should fix our eyes upon him rather than on our circumstances.
The third way we gain strength is by God revealing himself to us. This talks about the open nature of the gospel that God’s plan from ages past wasn’t an accident. It was God’s plan that Jesus should come to earth. Furthermore, God’s plan has been to disclose his plan to us: it’s no longer a secret. This should strengthen us because God has a plan as well as the power to execute it. Nothing has been left to chance.
The fourth way we gain strength to live the Christian Life comes by living according to God’s rules. This is what he says in verse 26 and 27 to “bring about the obedience of faith to the only wise God”. The purpose of the eternally decreed mystery (the gospel) is that all nations might believe and obey him because this is the best way to live.