Untitled Sermon (18)
Paul’s Mission 15:14–21
Paul begins his conclusion with personal warmth and emphasis—My brothers and sisters, I myself am persuaded concerning you yourselves. The subject of his deep confidence in the Roman Christians is that you yourselves are full of goodness, are filled with all knowledge, being empowered also to stand up mentally to one another. In v. 13 Paul prayed that the believers would be filled with joy and peace. Here he believes they are filled with the knowledge of God’s saving purposes, as he has outlined them in the letter (Paul really did not have to teach them all the things he has written). The being empowered to stand up mentally to one another picks up key language from the letter—power from 1:16 and the powerful (the strong) in chs. 14–15 while stand up mentally echoes Paul’s concern for correct thinking (chs. 12–15). Here correct thinking specifically means able to correct or admonish one another; the Roman Christians are capable of holding each other accountable for the mindset and behavior Paul has just advocated.
Despite his strong affirmation of the Roman Christians’ character and abilities, Paul has written you rather bluntly in part as a way of reminding you. The rather bluntly certainly refers to the specific exhortations in 12:1–15:13, but it may well refer to the entire body of the letter. Paul’s “straight talk” is cushioned by the very diplomatic assertion that he is only reminding them of what they already know. He has said “nothing new.”