In the Fullness of Christ’s Blessing
“When therefore I have completed this and have delivered to them what has been collected, I will leave for Spain by way of you. I know that when I come to you I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ.”- Romans 15:28-29
In Romans 15:25-27, we learn that Paul saw the collection of monies from Gentile Christians to provide for the Jerusalem church in its material poverty as an act of theological significance demonstrating the unity of the church universal. By giving to the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem, the Gentiles would be acknowledging their reliance on the Jewish nation for the spiritual blessing of salvation in Christ. After all, Jesus was Jewish and Jewish Apostles were the first to bring the gospel to the Gentiles. We should not miss, however, that in receiving the contribution, the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem would be acknowledging a significant shift in salvation history. That Gentile believers were meeting the needs of Jewish believers was a tangible sign that with the advent of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the nation of Israel would no longer be the primary arena of God’s saving activity. The Lord was bringing His salvation in all its glory to the whole world in a way that did not happen under the old covenant. While important in the plan of God, the Israel according to the flesh would not have a status before the Lord different than that of the Gentiles. By receiving the collection from Paul, these Jewish believers would show an understanding that in Christ, Gentiles have access to all of what it means to be a child of God and heir of the covenant Lord of Israel (Eph. 3:6).
Romans 15:28 indicates once more the Apostle’s desire to stay in Rome only briefly before going on to Spain (see v. 24). But then in verse 29, Paul makes the interesting comment that he would be coming to Rome “in the fullness of the blessing of Christ.” Paul likely means several things by this statement. First, he will come in the fullness of Christ’s blessing in the sense of Christ’s full approval. Jesus would be completely willing to have Paul go to Rome because everything he had to do beforehand would have been completed. The Apostle also seems to mean that when he got to Rome, he would enjoy the full blessing of Christ on his work. His activity with the Roman Christians would bear fruit. As John Calvin comments, “His coming to them would not be in vain, as he would not disappoint them of the grace given to him, but would bestow it with the same [fervor] with which their minds were prepared to receive the gospel.” Finally, coming in the fullness of the blessing of Christ means that Paul would receive the joy and encouragement of the edifying work of the Savior through the ministry of the Romans to the Apostle.
In our ministry to one another, we should eagerly desire the fullness of the blessing of Christ. We should long to see Him work through us and to receive His refreshment through the work of others. As we pray to that end and seek to work according to biblical principles, we will see this blessing. May we be in constant prayer for the fullness of the blessing of Christ, and may we endeavor to be faithful to Him in all things.
Passages for Further Study