We’re continuing through the book of Romans. As we enter chapter 15, Paul is beginning to conclude his letter. There are some final thoughts that he wants to get across to us.
He starts by talking about Scripture.
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
We need to know who God is and how He operates. The Bible looks at people that the Lord has worked with in the past and how He dealt with them.
It also shows us what the Lord likes and dislikes. That’s the place of Scripture. As I study its pages, I come to know who this God is, that I’m serving.
Endurance. The first thing that being teachable brings me is cheerful endurance. God has put certain things in writing so that I’ll know what to expect. I learn that as long as I’m in the world, there will be troubles and trials coming my way.
Because of this Word, I won’t be offended that the path before me isn’t an easy one. But I also know that God is with me, and He has already triumphed over my problems. All I have to do is keep walking forward in faith and trust in Him and I’ll see His deliverance manifest in my life.
That’s why this is not just putting my head down and grinding through the problems of life. It’s a cheerful endurance because I know that the Greater One is going through with me.
Encouragement. The Scripture also encourages me. This word means to call alongside. The closest concept we have to the Greek word for encouragement is coaching. The Bible is my life-coach.
Through the pages of Scripture, I can see what others have done in my situation. I have the example of those who went their own way and lost out, as well as those who trusted God and were victorious. This gives me the strength to carry on even when I don’t feel like it. That’s what a coach does. It inspires me to a higher walk in the Lord.
It also shows me areas in which I can improve. I may have done things a certain way my whole life. I’m comfortable in it. But, in God’s Word, I find that God has a better, more fruitful way of accomplishing things. That encourages me.
Hope. The Scripture also brings hope. It’s because of this endurance and encouragement that I can walk in the hope that only comes from knowing what God has promised to those who serve Him.
Please understand that the word hope in the Bible is not like the watered down version that the world uses. They say things like, “I hope it won’t rain tomorrow.” It’s more like wishful thinking. That’s not the hope found in the Scripture.
Our hope is fully expecting things to turn out the way God said it would. It means that I know in my heart that God doesn’t lie. It doesn’t matter what the situation looks like right now. It doesn’t even matter whether I can see a way out or not.
What I rely on is the fact that God said it, so therefore I expect it. That’s the hope that Scripture will equip us with if we let it be our teacher and life-coach.
Endurance, encouragement, and hope. These are three things that the world is in desperate need of right now. We won’t find them on the TV news or on our social media feeds. We need to spend quality time in the book God has given us.
Question: How has the Scripture helped you?
© 2021 Nick Zaccardi