How God Is Able to Establish You


As Paul concluded his epistle to the Romans, he praised God for His ability to establish them (Romans 16:25-27). This means He was able to make them strong, complete, and equipped to follow Him and to face the trials that exist in this life. Is God able to establish us today? If so, how?

Earlier in this letter, Paul expressed a desire to come to them in Rome: “For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established” (Romans 1:11). What were these spiritual gifts that Paul would impart to them in order to establish them? These miraculous gifts of the Spirit are enumerated in the first letter to Corinth and included such gifts as knowledge, prophecy, and the ability to speak in tongues (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). Do we need to have some miraculous spiritual gift in order to be established today? If so, we are in trouble because Paul later said that such miraculous spiritual gifts would be “done away” and replaced with the completed revelation in the word of God (1 Corinthians 13:8-10). This is what we need in order to be established today – the word of God. In our text, Paul described the word in several different ways, showing how it is able to establish us.

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” (Romans 16:25-27).

Let us briefly consider what Paul said in this passage as it relates to how God is able to establish us today.

The Gospel

Paul first mentioned God’s ability to establish us “according to my gospel.” The word translated gospel means “good news.” The term alone, before we know what is in the gospel, announces a message that is beneficial to us. What is it about this message that makes it good news? It solves a problem that we would otherwise be unable to solve. Man is enslaved to sin (John 8:24; Romans 3:23) and the gospel announces freedom from sin (Romans 6:17). Apart from God, man is lost and without direction (Jeremiah 10:23; Isaiah 53:6) and the gospel shows us the right path (Matthew 7:13-14; John 14:6).

The Preaching of Jesus Christ

There are two ways we can look at this. The first is the preaching about Jesus. This is the foundation of the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). The second is the preaching that has been done by Jesus, spreading the message that He taught while here on the earth. He came “to testify to the truth” (John 18:37). Peter rightly acknowledged that Jesus had the “words of eternal life” (John 6:68). Jesus – His work and His word – is the cornerstone in the foundation upon which we are built (Ephesians 2:20-21).

The Revelation of the Mystery

Mystery denotes something that has been hidden. It refers here to what God had hidden but chose to reveal to man (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:7; Ephesians 3:4). We are not established by what man has figured out on his own, but by what God has shown us. It may be that we wonder about things that are beyond the scope of God’s revelation. The Scriptures affirm that there are certain things that God reveals and other things He keeps hidden (Deuteronomy 29:29). But this does not mean that God’s revelation is insufficient to establish us. Peter affirmed that God has revealed everything we need to faithfully serve Him (2 Peter 1:3).

The Scriptures of the Prophets

The prophets were God’s spokesmen (2 Peter 1:21) – they revealed the mystery [see previous point]. Part of speaking for God included the foretelling of certain events. This was done in order to produce faith. The Old Testament contained many prophecies about the coming Messiah. Paul wrote, “Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24). When one examined the prophecies and compared Jesus to them, he would be forced to conclude that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. So these prophecies help establish our faith while pointing us to Christ through whom we are also established.

The Commandment of the Eternal God

Many want to think of the gospel only as “good news” – that is, unconditional salvation by grace. However, Jesus plainly taught that His disciples were to follow His commandments (Matthew 28:20). Many who ridicule the notion that works are necessary for salvation will hold up the book of Romans with its message of justification by faith. Yet at the beginning and end of this book, Paul declared that the preaching of the gospel was to lead to the “obedience of faith” (Romans 16:26; 1:5). If obedience did not result, then that one’s “faith” was dead (James 2:26). We are to obey the gospel (2 Thessalonians 1:8). Without following the instructions God has revealed in His word, we will not be established.

Made Known to All the Nations

The apostles were told, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15). Paul told these brethren that the gospel is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). Peter declared that God will welcome people from “every nation” (Acts 10:34-35). No one is left out, but all must follow God according to the same standard – His word (John 12:48). As God was able to establish the saints in Rome through His word, He is also able to establish us today through His word. Let us be diligent to study it, learn it, and practice it so that we might be established today.

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