For Our Learning
by Pastor Matt Ritchey, Managing Editor
Estimated Time to Read: 4 Minutes
“For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Rom. 15:3-4).
The Berean Bible Institute is dedicated to teaching our students to rightly divide the Scriptures. We unashamedly teach with the understanding that Paul is our unique apostle for this current Age of Grace. We also recognize the harmony in knowing the entire, inspired Word of God. Classes were created to cover each of the sixty-six books of the Bible.
We believe Grace Believers should be well-rounded in their understanding of the Bible. It is for this reason that we introduce a new section for our BBI Bulletin entitled “For Our Learning.” This section will take a portion of Scripture, summarize it, give the direct application, point out any contrasts with the Gospel of Grace, and explain what we can learn from it.
We can, and should, learn from all of the God-breathed holy writings. This is confirmed by Paul in Romans 15:4: “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” This is stated after a quote in verse 3 from Psalm 69:9b (“The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me”).
The Rejection and Suffering of the Messiah
The Gospel of John, at least twice (2:17; 15:25), quotes verses from Psalm 69 (vv. 4, 9) as being fulfilled in Jesus Christ. From this we learn that Psalm 69, while being a very real emotional response to something the psalmist was experiencing, is a prophecy of the rejection and suffering to which the Messiah would be subjected, similar to the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53.
The overall focus of Psalm 69 is looking for God to save Israel from her enemies, causing them to dwell safely in Jerusalem (vv. 35-36). While it is important to recognize Psalm 69 falls under the covenant made with Israel (e.g., “God of Israel” in verse 6), there is not much to rightly divide in the specific statement that is quoted by Paul in Romans 15:3. The suffering of Jesus Christ has led to the same redemption that we possess as members of the Body of Christ.
Live To Please Others
The lesson we are expected to learn is clear because Paul announces it in verse 2 and 3: We are not to live to please ourselves but others, just like Jesus Christ did not take on flesh to please Himself (cf. Phil. 2:4-5). Instead of fanfare and acceptance, Christ was met with reproach and rejection. Yet, He subjected Himself and bore that reproach so that He could provide eternal life for others (us).
It speaks of the high calling we have as believers in Christ. If Christ willingly left His position in Heaven with the Father to take on flesh, live among sinners, and bear the sins of others (the world) on the cross, there is no length we shouldn’t be willing to go to live for the benefit of others.
When we are met with opposition and rejection for our faith in the Lord, we can remember the reproach that Jesus was willing to bear for our benefit. This should give us comfort and anticipation (Rom. 15:4) knowing that we are in good company as we serve the God of patience and consolation (vs. 5).
The exhortation here is to set yourself aside, be likeminded together in service of the Lord, and glorify God with one collective voice while receiving one another as God for Christ’s sake has accepted us.
by Pastor Matt Ritchey
Managing Editor, Berean Bible Institute
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