“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”Romans 15:13
I grew up in church and became a Christian when I was 7 years old. But I began to have doubts about what I believed when I was older. I grew up in a small town and was rarely confronted with evidence against the truth of Christianity. But that changed when I went to college.
The college environment really tested what I believed, but then I heard about “apologetics.” Christian apologetics is a ministry that focuses on providing answers to questions about the truth of Christianity. I learned in college that scholars in Christian apologetics had some good answers to the questions and doubts. They provided strong evidence that Christianity was true. As the evidence mounted for what I believed, I grew more confident that it was really true. I wasn’t just believing it because my friends or parents did. I really owned my faith in college.
In Romans 15, Paul was writing to encourage the Gentiles to own their faith in Jesus Christ too. The Old Testament was a Jewish text pointing to a Messiah who would save everyone: Jews and Gentiles. Put yourself in the shoes of the Gentiles in the first century. It would be hard to believe that the Jewish Messiah was yours too. But Paul wanted them to be confident in their faith. He wrote in Romans 15:8-9, “For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.”
Paul then provided evidence (or apologetics!) from the Old Testament of God’s love for the Jews and Gentiles in verses 10-12. Then he wrote in verse 13 (our verse for today), “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
Paul wanted the Gentiles to have so much confidence in their belief in Jesus Christ as their Savior that they were filled with joy, peace, and power from the Holy Spirit. God also wants you to experience those riches through faith in Jesus Christ today.
PRAYER: God, thank you for the confidence we can have that Christianity is true. When I have doubts or questions, help me confront them and find comfort in knowing that Paul also didn’t shy away from the doubts and questions of Gentiles in the first century. Thank you for your Word that provides a firm foundation for Christian faith and practice. Please fill me with your joy, peace, and power as I follow you.