All that is good comes from God. To each one he gives what is more than sufficient. In Christ, there are no shortages. God shares his fullness with all, and there is more than enough to go around.
Paul sums up in Romans 15.5 what God gives as endurance and comfort. He helps us go the distance and cheers us on to keep up our spirits. (Sounds like Philippians 2.13.)
Now may the God of endurance and comfort give you unity with one another in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Romans 15.5-6.
Since God is the source of endurance and encouragement, Christians have no need and no reason to compete with one another for resources. “Freely you received, freely give” Matthew 10.8. God is a generous giver.
- “He generously gives to the needy; his integrity endures. He will be vindicated and honored” Psalm 112.9.
- “But if anyone is deficient in wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without reprimand, and it will be given to him” James 1.5.
It is common to find God as the subject of the verb “give,” as above in our verse.
With this confidence in God’s generosity, the saints are free to give, serve, and love one another. They are motivated to preserve and strengthen the bonds that unite them. Their goal is the glory of God, and they know that, in order to reach this goal, they need the unity that is characteristic of the Father and the Son, John 17.20-23.
Our verse above says this unity is to be expressed “in accordance with Christ Jesus.” The original phrase is compressed and can be taken in several ways. The versions vary in their renderings.
- “by following the example of Christ Jesus” (GW, GNT).
- “as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus” (NLT).
- “similar to Christ Jesus’ attitude” (CEB).
- “as Christ Jesus wants” (ERV; see ICB, NCV).
- “as you follow the Messiah Jesus” (ISV).
- “the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had” (NIV).
Unity is in Christ. He pulled together people from the widest possible backgrounds. Our text above concludes a whole discussion about accepting our differences of opinion, about coming together based upon the truths of the gospel.
If it weren’t for the gospel, most of us would probably prefer not to be in each other’s company. But the gospel unites us. What we have in common is far greater than our differences of culture, family history, personal preferences, or personality.
We are in this together, not only to tolerate one another (yes, sometimes it comes down to that), but to love one another. And as we learn to appreciate, to encourage, and to accept one another, we glorify God and will also bring others to glorify the name of Christ on the last day.