to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice *
November 14, 2019 – Thursday
Romans 15:17-19 NIV
17 Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God.
18 I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done—
19 by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.
What precedes the ‘Therefore’ in verse seventeen? Three verses where Paul declares his conviction that Gentile believers are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another. And further because of God’s grace he is a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. His duty as a minister is one of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
With this in mind it should not surprise us when he writes Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God. Paul glories or rejoices God has used him to bring the message of salvation to the Gentiles, that he has been able to be of service to God. Could God have done this without Paul? Of course He could have, but He did choose and use Paul to bring the gospel of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles.
Paul becomes more specific in the next two verses when he states I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done—by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ. There is no boasting here, instead there is an acknowledgment that what was accomplished was not by him and his ability, but instead by Christ working through Paul. The distance involved was really substantial as well, about 1,000 miles or 1,600 kilometers.
Paul was likely looking forward to hearing, Well done good and faithful servant from Jesus when he arrives in Heaven. Got Questions states correctly We are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8–9), but we are saved “to do good works” (Ephesians 2:10). Jesus spoke of laying up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:20), and His parable of the talents hints at various rewards for those who faithfully serve Him in this world.
Paul gloried or rejoiced in all he was able to do in his service to God. What do we have to glory or rejoice about that we have done in service to God? More directly: What, if anything, are we doing in service to God?
If we draw a blank in answer to that question we should be praying and asking God how He wants to use us to spread the wonderful news of his Son Jesus.
(to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice)
* Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22)