Romans 15:13 is the last verse, a summary verse, before Paul wraps things up with comments about his ministry plans and his personal greetings. It was one of my dad's favorite verses in all the Bible:
"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
Romans 15:13 answers three questions. One, who is God? He is the God of hope. Two, what does he do? He fills us with all joy and peace, so that we abound in hope. Three, how does he do that? Our part: in believing. His part: by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Being filled with all joy and peace, so that we abound in hope -- that's what a Romans-taught Christian looks like. Not a rigid, tense, dogmatic person but someone filled with all joy and peace, abounding in hope. Smack him down, and he'll weep for a while. But then he's back up again, rejoicing in God. Everything in Romans 1:1-15:12 is calculated to produce believers like this, churches like this. Romans chapter 1, chapter 2, chapter 3, and so on -- it all funnels down to our being filled with all joy and peace, so that we abound in hope.
This Sunday at Immanuel we begin a journey through Romans. Here is our destination: to be filled with all joy and peace, so that we abound in hope. And who doesn't desire that and need that?