Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.
Those remarkable words constitute a summary of the whole letter to the Romans — a beautiful finale to this great epistle. You will notice that the goal the apostle has in view in writing this letter and summary is that we who read this letter may be established.
Have you ever had the desire to be established? Many people think they are established when they are simply stuck in the mud. Most of us think that being established means that all progress ceases. We sit down, camp there, and that is it. In that sense, there are many Christians who are established. But when Paul speaks of our being established, he means putting us on solid, stable ground. Have you ever erected a picnic table and tried to find a place where all four legs touched the ground at the same time? You tried to establish it so that it would not rock, or become shaky, or uncertain. That is the idea that Paul has in mind in this word establish. God wants to bring you and me to a place where we are no longer rocking or shaky or unstable, but solid and secure. The idea is basically what all human beings look for — an inner security from which you can handle all the problems of life. You become dependable, and have a true sense of worth, so that nothing gets to you, or shakes you up, or throws you off balance.
This is the goal of all Christian teaching in the New Testament (and especially the goal of the letter to the Romans) that we believers might be brought to that place of security where we are not shaken by things, so that we do not lose our tempers easily, or get frustrated, angry, resentful or hostile; where we do not scream at our children, or yell at our mates, or get upset at the neighbors.
Notice the resource that the apostle counts on to make that happen: “Now to him who is able to establish you…” It is God himself who is responsible for this. You and I are not given the final responsibility to bring this about. Isn’t that encouraging? Now there are things he asks us to do: We are to understand what he is saying to us in this letter, and we are to willingly cooperate with it and give ourselves to it. But even if we do not, Paul is saying, we do not have the ultimate responsibility to bring this about. God will do it.
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God did it with Paul. Paul was a brilliant young Jew with an ambitious heart, a sharp mind and a strong sense of achievement, due to his notable gifts and his desire to become famous. Yet God broke him, softened him, changed him and put him through circumstances that Paul did not understand at the time. This finally established him, so that no matter what came, he remained strong, steady, trusting and certain. That is the great good news of this letter. “Now to him who is able to establish you…”
Thank you, Lord, that you have promised to establish me in the faith and bring me to a place of security and strength in you.
Are we merely part of the establishment, or are we firmly established in Christ as our true identity? Are we fully and confidently engaged as His fruit-bearing servants?