“I myself feel confident about you, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to instruct one another.” (Rom. 15:14 NRSV)
Paul’s confidence about the believers in Rome is a sure mark of their Christian living. Confidence in someone is attained mainly because of the way he lives. You can’t trust in someone whose behavior is doubtful. People who live the way they like without being concerned about other people’s interests and wellness and without fear of God, get no respect in society. Everyone will only take efforts to be away from such people. There is no need to tell that even from ancient times, people with a good character are those who gained respect from other people and were felt confident about by everyone they had come in contact with. It is painful to tell that many have become selfish and caused thousands to look upon them as worthless and useless. This reality can be changed if we pray for God’s grace to enable us in becoming more and more like Christ.
The first and foremost reason that gladdened Paul is that ‘they (the believers in Rome) themselves were full of goodness.’ Goodness, as learned from the Bible, is not gained from being and doing good. If everyone had to become good before God through their deeds, then grace would be meaningless. Do you feel proud about the good character you have? Do you look down upon others who fail to win in temptations and cannot come up in life? Are you a self-righteous person? Can’t you realize that becoming good through our own efforts is a sin before God? You may be satisfied with the good life that you are living, but are you sure whether God is satisfied or not?
Then how is goodness gained? It is when your ‘self’ is crushed and ‘Christ in you’ grows day after day. Christ’s nature does not come in us at a quick and instant speed. We have to go through various processes in order to grow in our Christian life (the life of Christ dwelling in us). Do you lament saying that your life is miserable after deciding to follow Christ? No, do not think that God does not love you anymore. Cry out to Him to give you the grace to patiently endure all that you are going through. If you doubt, misunderstand and question God, then you will lose all your inner strength. Pour out your hearts to Him and He will heal all your emotional wounds. He will speak to you in various ways and comfort you in His way. Just believe that deliverance from problems is not the solution, but the grace of God to rejoice in Christ in every situation is the answer. If you enjoy being in God’s presence without considering about your life’s situation, then you are the most joyous person on earth.
The result produced as a result of praising God in all situations is that God will make all things work together for our good. Problems are not destroyed but used by God to insult the devil. Do you feel that the devil has tormented you? As we see in Job’s life, it was only through God’s permission that Satan could harm Job. We do not see God delivering Job from all his troubles until we reach the last chapter of the book of Job. The patience of Job is mentioned in the New Testament too: “We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.” (Jam. 5:11 NLT) Even in the life of Apostle Paul, the Lord strengthened him by speaking about His sufficient grace (2 Cor. 12:9). The mighty words of Jesus still echo in our hearts: “---Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NLT)
When, without murmuring, we trust and rely on God for the problems we are facing right now, our behavior gets better and better day after day. Yes, as I have mentioned before, becoming like Christ is not an instant action. But how is this done? God is molding you and helping you live the life that He expects. Yes, to be full of goodness, we need to be cut, shaped and go through various other processes. God knows well that it is neither the body nor material things that must be repaired first, but the inner man in us. When we yield to God to nourish and protect our inner man, we become full of goodness.
The second reason for Paul’s confidence in the Roman believers is that they are’ filled with all knowledge’. Does this mean that they knew about all the things happening on earth? No, this means that they were able to discern the right from the wrong. Whenever they had to face a situation when they could not decide what to do next, their regular reading of the scriptures helped them in taking the right decision and making the right choice. The guidance and instructions from the Lord enabled them to be ‘filled with all knowledge’.
This is just what God wants to do in our lives. Reading, meditating, learning and applying God’s Word in our lives will make us wiser than other people who do not give the Bible the first place in their daily activities. We will get all the resources to get divine understanding provided we listen to what God has to say.
The last reason for Paul’s confidence in the Roman believers is that they ‘were able to instruct one another’. You cannot instruct someone how to swim if you yourself do not know to swim. Likewise, if we want to become able to instruct one another in all good things, we must ourselves be daily practicing the Word of God. True Christians learn from each other.
Friend, are you a person in whom others can put their confidence in?