Romans 15:6-9: The Purpose of Unity
The Supreme reason why everything exists is the glory of God. The greatest motive to which all others must submit is not human happiness or sustaining this creation, but the glory of God. All endeavours are judged for their rightness or wrongness by whether they work towards the glory of God. Is. 48:9-11, ‘”For my name’s sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.’ God elects a people for the glory of His grace, Eph. 1:4-6; God rescued Israel from Egypt for His glory, Ps. 106:7-8; God raised up Pharaoh to show His power in him, Rom. 9:17; God spared Israel in the wilderness, gave them victory in Canaan; saved Jerusalem from attack restored Israel from exile because He was seeking His own glory.1 God seeks His own glory and we seek the glory of God as our highest goal because it is right and to do otherwise would be a lie. He is supremely worthy of all praise and obedience; He is worthy of the adoring gaze of all the worshipping creation for all time, and more. This is not a case of vanity or egotism. No, we find our greatest happiness in God’s glory. His glory and our greatest good are not at odds. All things exist for the glory of God. This is what Paul believes when he states in Rom. 11:36, ‘For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.’
As we come to our text in Romans 15:6-9a, to a portion where Paul is seeking the unity of the weak and the strong in the Roman Church. What is the purpose of him seeking this unity? The glory of God. Listen to how many times God’s glory is emphasised in this portion. ‘that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.7 Therefore welcome one another 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,9 and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.’ The logic in this section goes something like this: Romans, both weak and strong, be in harmony with one another, that united you can be a worshipping community to the glory of God. Do this, because this is Christ’s own motive in dying to save sinners. Christ puts on display the glory of God by showing that all the promises made to the Jews are true. And by bringing salvation to the Jews salvation has come to the Gentiles that they might receive mercy to the glory of God and this so that together in one new man you might glorify God. In other words, Jesus sought the glory of God by bringing salvation to both Jews and Gentiles, to unite them as one worshipping church, therefore be that united and worshipping church to the glory of God.
As we look at the purpose of our unity, we want to look at it under two headings firstly, we want to explore how the church brings glory to God in unity, and secondly, how Christ brought glory to God in His saving work.