The apostle Paul has been doing the faithful work of discipleship throughout chapter 14. The Holy Spirit has not simply told us what is right and then commanded that we do the right. No, Paul has been weaving the gospel masterfully throughout the chapter. The righteous life, atoning death, and victorious resurrection of Jesus Christ has been held up throughout the book of Romans. In the theology section, chapters 1-11, the gospel has been clear and in the foreground. Now in the application section, chapters 12-16, the gospel is clear and in the background. The gospel is there in 14:9, “For to this end Christ died and rose again, that he might be the Lord both of the dead and of the living.” The gospel is the reason we live all of life with and for Jesus. The gospel is the reason we honor God and give him thanks through every decision.
Gospel clarity in the background shows up again in 14:15, “By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.” The work of Christ for that sister determines her value and the work of Christ determines how you will treat that brother. Gospel clarity in the background shows up again in 15:3. Our goal is to understand how the righteous life, atoning death, and victorious resurrection of Jesus Christ determine how we treat one another. A right understanding of Jesus, coupled with a Holy Spirit fueled desire to become like Jesus, move us so that we become joyful servants.