This passage is nearly always quoted in reference to the inclusion of the Gentiles in God’s plan of salvation. Praise Him forever, because nearly all of us fall into that category! Praise Him forever if you don’t, for this is His glory!
But for our Advent joys, look at verse 5 … “May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony …”
The GOD of steadfastness and encouragement! The GOD of those, and of all else that is good and profitable to us. Do we vacillate a little, if not in our faith, then in our thoughts, in our determinations? Do we suffer in discouragement on occasion?
Our GOD is the GOD of steadfastness. He’s in charge of steadfastness. Steadfastness is His to command! Encouragement, too! Tell me I’m not alone in my rejoicing! Steadfastness is His, and it is with Him, and He is with us, and we shall ABIDE in Him and in His steadfastness!
I’m rejoicing as I light my Advent candle. I like to light them in the morning as I pray and study and lift you and your families before the Lord, and light them again in the evening at dinnertime. And look! I’m still here writing, you’re still there in your holy vocation, we are still in the Word, we still pray, we’re still in fellowship … steadfastness is with us!
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, steadfastness to people who want it and place a very high value upon it.
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.
5) May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Welcome one another, therefore, as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise thee among the Gentiles, and sing to thy name”; and again it is said, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people”; and again, “Praise the Lord, all Gentiles, and let all the peoples praise him”;
and further Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse shall come, he who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles hope.” May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. ( Romans 15:4-13 )
Peter Kieren, by permission, Wikicommons