Paul writes on some thought-provoking topics in his letters to the churches. There are many ideas and thoughts from his pen that have kept theologians debating for lifetimes. What I read the other day in Romans really caused me to pause and wonder and marvel some more!
Romans 15:14 says,
“I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.”
Who could you say that about? Who are you convinced of their goodness? Do you get what Paul is actually saying here?
Paul was writing to the Christians in Rome. He had never been to Rome but was planning to go there soon, and this intense theological letter was an introduction to himself and his beliefs. He did know some people from Rome. He had met Priscilla and Aquila in Corinth after they fled from their home in Rome because of religious persecution. He listed many other people he knew at the end of this letter, but he wasn’t specifically talking about those Christians he knew at Rome. He was talking about all of them. I can even take it a step further to conclude that since he was inspired to write this as God’s Word that stands for eternity, he was also writing those words about me. I could understand Paul’s being convinced of the goodness of Priscilla and Aquila. After all they had become important partners in ministry with him in Corinth, where they met. They were a spiritually powerful couple who helped Paul in his work of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles. If he were saying that he was convinced of the goodness of this couple, it would make sense. Paul was utterly convinced of the goodness of the believers in Rome. Where would that come from?
Paul was convinced of their goodness because he was convinced of the power of the Holy Spirit who lived in them. The Holy Spirit is the source of their goodness. That is a powerful reality to consider. Imagine Paul looking into your eyes and saying those same words to you. I see you, and I see that you are a believer in Jesus Christ, and I am convinced of your goodness. (Are even you convinced of your goodness?)
When God created the world, He pronounced everything He created as good and man and woman as very good. Adam and Eve lived in a garden of complete goodness. Satan tempted Adam and Eve to consider good and evil. The evil in this world has penetrated every aspect of creation. None of us have been immune from evil in our lives. The goodness that God was not obliterated. Paul could be convinced of the goodness of the Romans and even convinced of my goodness because God lives in me. I have a goodness that I need to be convinced that I have. I want to embrace my goodness and the goodness in others. I want to be certain that I can have complete knowledge through the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit and that I can instruct others from His light.