“But the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel”
In verses 15 and 16 Paul’s listed both proper and improper motives. In verse 17 Paul set forth another proper motive—”but the latter out of love.”
Paul had just made the point that some Christian workers in Rome were seeking to rub salt into his wounds (his prison experience) by bragging about their successes in ministry. They were envious about the way the Praetorian Guard responded to Paul.
“but the latter out of love,”
Love is the second valid motive. The first good motive was “good will” of verse 15. Love is an advance on good will.
“Of” in “of love” is source. Love is the source (motive) for what they do. Wolf packs turn on their own when one falls in the fray. Christians often shoot their wounded as well.
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal” (1 Co. 13:1). Preaching without love is just a lot of noise. Preaching like that is just sound and fury but without integrity.
“knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel”
Paul saw his purpose as defending the gospel. Note the emphasis upon the gospel in this chapter:
“fellowship in the gospel” (v.5)
“confirmation of the gospel” (v.7)
“furtherance of the gospel” (v.12)
“defense of the gospel” (here)
Paul was greatly exercised about advancing the gospel. Paul viewed himself as “appointed” for the gospel. He knew his mission. He saw himself clearly in God’s plan of world evangelism
Love finds its source in viewing things from God’s perspective.
The reason some Romans loved Paul was that they knew God had appointed him to advance the gospel. Love found its source in viewing things from God’s perspective.
Is love more than maudlin sentimentalism to you? Does your love find its source in God’s viewpoint? Does your love have content? Are you in love with people who are advancing the gospel? How are you expressing that love?