The merciful inclusion of the Gentiles in the blessings God had promised the Hebrew fathers evokes the joyful praise of God (Rom. 15:7-12). He is the “God of hope” for Gentiles and Jews, filling us with hope regardless of our race (Rom. 15:13). Their hope in Christ gave Paul confidence the Roman Christians would serve one another’s spiritual needs (instead of pleasing themselves, Rom. 15:1-6). Paul identified two things that gave them power (“able” is the verb form of “power” in Rom. 1:16) to admonish one another effectively. To admonish means to “put to mind,” “to caution or reprove,” to warn (Strong, G3560). First, they were able to admonish because they were “full of goodness.” Warnings and reproof are more palatable and productive when they come from a heart of goodness. Admonitions that do not spring from a place of virtue can easily take on the flavor of self-righteous judging instead of caring concern for the sinner’s soul. Secondly, they had the power to admonish because they were “filled with all knowledge.” God’s truth, not our “think so’s,” must inform and guide us when we caution and warn one another. Combining goodness and knowledge equips us to serve each other with needful warnings and exhortations as we live in the joy, peace, and hope of God (Rom. 15:13).
Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. (Romans 15:14, NKJV)
An admonition is an earnest warning, a reprimand firmly given. By definition, it is intended to be persuasive, either to correct sin or to urge an action of faithfulness. Paul suggests two things needed in order to effectively admonition others. First, it requires the goodness of moral integrity. Admonitions fall on deaf ears when they come from a person whose own integrity is suspect. We must first remove the beam out of our own eye in order to see clearly to remove the speck from our brother’s eye (Matt. 7:3-5). Secondly, we must be filled with a knowledge of God’s truth in order to give Scriptural warnings. God’s word contains the wisdom and admonitions most needed. When admonishing someone of spiritual danger, do so out of the goodness of love and upon the basis of God’s truth.
Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. (1 Thessalonians 5:14, NKJV)
The gospel message is the same for us all. Yet, how to most effectively convey the spiritual blessings of its message to others often depends on their specific spiritual needs. For example, the unruly Christian ought to be sternly warned of the spiritual danger that comes from being insubordinate to the will of Christ. Discouraged Christians, whose faith is undergoing particular stress, need the comfort that comes from the redemptive hope we have in Christ. Weak Christians need to be strengthened in their faith with good doses of God’s word coupled with mutual burden-sharing (Gal. 6:2). All need patience to grow and mature in Christ. Becomes aware of the spiritual needs of your brethren. Then, use the gospel to meet their needs and to advance their spiritual growth in Christ.