We may know that these things make no difference, but we cannot just go ahead and do them to please ourselves. We must be considerate of the doubts and fears of those who think these things are wrong.
We should please others. If we do what helps them, we will build them up in the Lord.
For even Christ didn't please himself. As the Scriptures say, "Those who insult you are also insulting me." a4
Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. They give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God's promises.
May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other -- each with the attitude of Christ Jesus toward the other.
Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
So accept each other just as Christ has accepted you; then God will be glorified.
Remember that Christ came as a servant to the Jews to show that God is true to the promises he made to their ancestors.
And he came so the Gentiles might also give glory to God for his mercies to them. That is what the psalmist meant when he wrote: "I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing praises to your name." b10
And in another place it is written, "Rejoice, O you Gentiles, along with his people, the Jews." c11
And yet again, "Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles; praise him, all you people of the earth." d12
And the prophet Isaiah said, "The heir to David's throne e will come, and he will rule over the Gentiles. They will place their hopes on him." f13
So I pray that God, who gives you hope, will keep you happy and full of peace as you believe in him. May you overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
I am fully convinced, dear brothers and sisters, g that you are full of goodness. You know these things so well that you are able to teach others all about them.
Even so, I have been bold enough to emphasize some of these points, knowing that all you need is this reminder from me. For I am, by God's grace,
a special messenger from Christ Jesus to you Gentiles. I bring you the Good News and offer you up as a fragrant sacrifice to God so that you might be pure and pleasing to him by the Holy Spirit.
So it is right for me to be enthusiastic about all Christ Jesus has done through me in my service to God.
I dare not boast of anything else. I have brought the Gentiles to God by my message and by the way I lived before them.
I have won them over by the miracles done through me as signs from God -- all by the power of God's Spirit. In this way, I have fully presented the Good News of Christ all the way from Jerusalem clear over into Illyricum. h20
My ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard, rather than where a church has already been started by someone else.
I have been following the plan spoken of in the Scriptures, where it says, "Those who have never been told about him will see, and those who have never heard of him will understand." i22
In fact, my visit to you has been delayed so long because I have been preaching in these places.
But now I have finished my work in these regions, and after all these long years of waiting, I am eager to visit you.
I am planning to go to Spain, and when I do, I will stop off in Rome. And after I have enjoyed your fellowship for a little while, you can send me on my way again.
But before I come, I must go down to Jerusalem to take a gift to the Christians there.
For you see, the believers in Greece j have eagerly taken up an offering for the Christians in Jerusalem, who are going through such hard times.
They were very glad to do this because they feel they owe a real debt to them. Since the Gentiles received the wonderful spiritual blessings of the Good News from the Jewish Christians, they feel the least they can do in return is help them financially.
As soon as I have delivered this money and completed this good deed of theirs, I will come to see you on my way to Spain.
And I am sure that when I come, Christ will give me a great blessing for you.
Dear brothers and sisters, I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Do this because of your love for me, given to you by the Holy Spirit.
Pray that I will be rescued from those in Judea who refuse to obey God. Pray also that the Christians there will be willing to accept the donation I am bringing them.
Then, by the will of God, I will be able to come to you with a happy heart, and we will be an encouragement to each other.
And now may God, who gives us his peace, be with you all. Amen.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)