15:7–13—Conclusion: Jews and Gentiles should accept one another.
7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
8 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,
9 and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.”
10 And again it is said, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”
11 And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him.”
12 And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.”
13 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.
“Therefore” signals the end of Paul’s teaching about the controversy in the Roman church over eating meat, drinking wine, and celebration of certain days. These seven verses also bring to an end the instructional part of this epistle, as Paul will move on from here to his future plans and greetings.
In 14:1–3 Paul told the Roman believers to welcome one another as God has welcomed them, and now it is Christ who has welcomed them for the glory of God. In this conclusion, God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit all appear, with Christ being the key.
Christ’s ministry to the Jews
Jesus was born into a Jewish family, was circumcised and raised as a Jew, fulfilled the Jewish law, chose Jews as his 12 disciples, taught from the Jewish Scriptures, and said he was sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 15:24). Although Jesus came as a servant to lay down his life for them, the Jewish leaders and most of the people rejected him. “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him,” says John (1:11).
Christ’s ministry in his life and death “confirmed” (literally, “made stand”) God’s promises to the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In Galatians 3:16–29, Paul explains that those promises were made to Abraham and his offspring (singular, not plural, Paul emphasizes), who is Christ. Thus Paul argues that all who are in Christ are sons of God (3:26) and there is neither Jew nor Greek for all are one in Christ (3:28).
Paul’s syntax in verse 8 and the first part of verse 9 is awkward, but here is what we can make of it: Christ’s ministry to the Jews not only proved God’s truthfulness by confirming the promises to the patriarchs, but also had a spillover benefit for Gentiles, who are able to glorify God for the mercy shown them. Paul thus ties all of salvation history for both Jews and Gentiles to Christ.
God’s purpose for Gentiles
Gentiles were included in God’s plan from the beginning, as Paul illustrates with four quotations from every section of the OT: Law, Prophets and Writings. By referring to all three parts, a Hebrew writer or speaker emphasizes that the message is found throughout Scripture. Jesus gave an example of this when he told his disciples after his resurrection “that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:44).
In brief, here are the meaning and source of each quotation:
(1) David rejoices that God has extended his reign even over Gentiles (Psalm 18:49).
(2) Gentiles participate with Israel in worship of the Lord (Deuteronomy 32:43).
(3) Gentiles are exhorted to praise the Lord (Psalm 117:1).
(4) Gentiles will place their hope in the Messiah who will arise to rule over them (Isaiah 11:10).
As Paul explains salvation history in chapters 9–11, the Jews enjoyed priority as God’s chosen people, and “from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all” (9:5).
Then through the Jews’ disobedience the Gentiles received mercy, being grafted into the Jewish root. Now both the believing Jewish remnant and believing Gentiles have come together to worship God in the church, and they must welcome each other as God has welcomed them.
God has promised that great numbers of both Jews and Gentiles will be saved before the time of this present age runs out (11:12 and 25). The God of hope has given every reason, therefore, for both root and branches to abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.