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Love Is the Key to Unity
1Now, those who are mature in their faith can easily be recognized, for they don’t live to please themselves but have learned to patiently embrace others in their immaturity. 2Our goal must be to empower others to do what is right and good for them, and to bring them into spiritual maturity. 3For not even the most powerful one of all, the Anointed One, lived to please himself. His life fulfilled the Scripture that says:
All the insults of those who insulted you fall upon me.
4Whatever was written beforehand is meant to instruct us in how to live. The Scriptures impart to us encouragement and inspiration so that we can live in hope and endure all things.
5Now may God, the source of great endurance and comfort, grace you with unity among yourselves, which flows from your relationship with Jesus, the Anointed One. 6Then, with a unanimous rush of passion, you will with one voice glorify God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7You will bring God glory when you accept and welcome one another as partners, just as the Anointed One has fully accepted you and received you as his partner.
The God of Hope for Jews and Non-Jews
8I am convinced that Jesus, the Messiah, was sent as a servant to the Jewish people to fulfill the promises God made to our ancestors and to prove God’s faithfulness. 9And now, because of Jesus, the non-Jewish people of the world can glorify God for his kindness to them, fulfilling the prophecy of Scripture:
Because of this I will proclaim you among the nations
and they will hear me sing praises to your name.
10And in another place it says:
“You who are not Jewish,
celebrate life right alongside his Jewish people.”
11And again:
Praise the Lord, all you who are not Jews,
and let all the people of the earth
raise their voices in praises to him.
12And Isaiah prophesied:
“An heir to David’s throne will emerge,
and he will rise up as ruler
over all the non-Jewish nations,
for all their hopes will be met in him.”
13Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with his super-abundance until you radiate with hope!
Paul’s Ministry and His Plans
14My dear brothers and sisters, I am fully convinced of your genuine spirituality. I know that each of you is stuffed full of God’s goodness, that you are richly supplied with all kinds of revelation-knowledge, and that you are empowered to effectively instruct one another. 15And because of the outpouring of God’s grace on my life to be his minister and to preach Jesus, the Anointed One, to the non-Jewish people, I have written rather boldly to you on some themes, reminding you of their importance. 16For this grace has made me a servant of the gospel of God, constantly doing the work of a priest, for I endeavor to present an acceptable offering to God; so that the non-Jewish people of the earth may be set apart and made holy by the Spirit of holiness.
17Now then, it is through my union with Jesus Christ, that I enjoy an enthusiasm and confidence in my ministry for God. 18-19And I will not be presumptuous to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me. For many non-Jewish people are coming into faith’s obedience by the power of the Spirit of God, which is displayed through mighty signs and amazing wonders, both in word and deed. Starting from Jerusalem I went from place to place as far as the distant Roman province of Illyricum, fully preaching the wonderful message of Christ. 20It is my honor and constant passion to be a pioneer who preaches where no one has ever even heard of the Anointed One, instead of building upon someone else’s foundation. 21As the Scriptures say:
Those who know nothing about him will clearly see him,
and those who have not heard will respond.
Paul’s Intention to Visit Rome
22My pursuit of this mission has prevented me many times from visiting you, 23but there is now nothing left to keep me in these regions. So many years I have longed to come and be with you! 24So on my way to Spain I hope to visit you as I pass through Rome. And after I have enjoyed fellowship with you for a while, I hope that you would help me financially on my journey. 25But now I’m on my way to Jerusalem to encourage God’s people and minister to them.
26I am pleased to inform you that the believers of Macedonia and Greece have made a generous contribution for the poor among the holy believers in Jerusalem. 27They were thrilled to have an opportunity to give back to the believers in Jerusalem. For indeed, they are deeply grateful for them and feel indebted because they brought them the gospel. Since the ethnic multitudes have shared in the spiritual wealth of the Jewish people, it is only right that the non-Jewish people share their material wealth with them.
28So, when I have completed this act of worship and safely delivered the offering to them in Jerusalem, I will set out for Spain and visit you on my way there. 29I am convinced that when I come to you, I will come packed full and loaded with the blessings of the Anointed One!
30That’s why I plead with you, because of our union with our Lord Jesus Christ, to be partners with me in your prayers to God. My dear brothers and sisters in the faith, with the love we share in the Holy Spirit, fight alongside me in prayer. 31Ask the Father to deliver me from the danger I face from the unbelievers in Judea. For I want to make sure that the contribution I carry for Jerusalem will be favorably received by God’s holy ones. 32Then he will send me to you with great joy in the pleasure of God’s will, and I will be spiritually refreshed by your fellowship.
33And now may the God who gives us his peace and wholeness be with you all. Yes, Lord, so let it be!