Romans 15:17 MEANING

Romans 15:17
(17) This is really the title on which I rest my claim. I can boast of a specially sacred office and ministry, given to me by Christ, and not merely of my own devising. The sphere of this office is a religious sphere, it relates to "the things pertaining to God."

Verse 17. - I have therefore whereof I may glory through (rather, I have my boasting in) Christ Jesus in the things that pertain unto God (τὰ πρὸς Θεόν - the same phrase as is used in Hebrews 5:1 with reference to priestly service). St. Paul's purpose in this and the four following verses is to allege proof of his being a true apostle with a right to speak with authority to the Gentiles. It is evident, he says, from the extent and success of my apostolic labours, and the power of God that has accompanied them. So also, still more earnestly and at length, in 2 Corinthians 11. and 12. As to his reason for frequently thus insisting on his true apostleship, and for asserting it in writing to the Romans, see note on Romans 1:1.

15:14-21 The apostle was persuaded that the Roman Christians were filled with a kind and affectionate spirit, as well as with knowledge. He had written to remind them of their duties and their dangers, because God had appointed him the minister of Christ to the Gentiles. Paul preached to them; but what made them sacrifices to God, was, their sanctification; not his work, but the work of the Holy Ghost: unholy things can never be pleasing to the holy God. The conversion of souls pertains unto God; therefore it is the matter of Paul's glorying, not the things of the flesh. But though a great preacher, he could not make one soul obedient, further than the Spirit of God accompanied his labours. He principally sought the good of those that sat in darkness. Whatever good we do, it is Christ who does it by us.I have therefore whereof I may glory,.... Not in himself, for he that taught others not to glory in men, would not glory in himself; not in his carnal descent and fleshly privileges; nor in his knowledge of, and compliance with, the ceremonies of the law; nor in his legal, moral, and civil righteousness before God; nor in his gifts and attainments, as merited and procured by himself; nor in his labours in the ministry, and the success of it, as of himself: but

through Jesus Christ; or "in Jesus Christ", as read the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions; in what Christ was unto him, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption: he could boast of what he had from him, and through him, even of all spiritual blessings in him; and of a large measure of grace he had received from him; and of great and eminent gifts Christ had bestowed on him; he gloried in his cross, and boasted of a crucified Jesus, whom others despised; and whom he made the subject of his ministry, and took delight in preaching: and freely owned that all he did was through Christ strengthening him; and that all his success in his work was owing to him, and of this he had to glory: and which was

in those things which pertain to God; not "with God", as the Syriac reads it; for though in some cases it may be lawful to glory before men, yet not before God, or in his presence: nor is it anything a man may glory in, not in his own things, but in the things of God; in things relating to the Gospel of God, to the pure preaching of it, to the furtherance and spread of it, and the recommending of it to others; to the worship and ordinances of God, and a spiritual attendance on them; to the grace of God, and the magnifying of that in the business of salvation; and to the glory of God, which ought to be the chief end of all actions, natural, moral, and religious, and whether private or public. The apostle has chiefly reference to his ministerial function, and the things of God relating to that, in which he was employed; see Hebrews 5:1.

Courtesy of Open Bible