Lesson 52


The Epistle to the Romans

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

15:1 Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 15:2 Let each one of us please his neighbor for that which is good, to be building him up. 15:3 For Christ also didnít please himself. But, as it is written, "The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me." 15:4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that through patience and through comfort of the scriptures we might have hope. 15:5 Now the God of patience and of comfort grant you to be of the same mind one with another according to Christ Jesus, 15:6 that with one accord you may with one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15:7 Therefore receive one another, even as Christ also received you, to the glory of God.


Today's Lesson 

In chapter 14 Paul directed his words to those whose faith was weak. He tried to tell them that the kingdom of God was not a matter of the observance of special days. Nor is the kingdom of God a list of rules and regulations that we try to live by. The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. God is not really concerned with what we eat or drink. He concerns Himself with whether or not His people pursue righteousness and peace. He concerns Himself with whether or not we are filled with joy in the working of the Spirit of God in our lives.

 

In this section Paul directs his words to those that he would consider strong in faith. These are Christians who have heard the gospel of grace and are open to the Spirit of God in their lives. These Christians are attempting to live out the indwelling life of Christ. To these, Paul begins by saying that the strong need to bear the weakness of the weak. This is a simple enough concept, but it is difficult to practice. Too often the strong become impatient and seek to lead the weak into areas that their faith is not yet strong enough to handle. Paul tells them to slow down and let God instruct the weak.

 

Christ did not become impatient with us. When we were weak, Christ bore our reproach and our weakness. We who are strong ought to bear the reproach of the weak just as Christ did for us. Here again is an excellent example of Paul's teaching. The goal of the Christian life is to allow Christ that lives in us to express His life through us to accomplish the same goals that He did when He was in the flesh. We are the hands and the feet and the voice of God in the world today.

 

So Paul tells the Romans, don't work to please yourself, work to build others up. Learn from what has already been written. The same God that is alive within us is the God that inspired the patriarchs and the prophets. We can learn from the scriptures the patience of God and can take great comfort when we can recognize the workings of God in our lives. And we can see God at work when we see that God is seeking to bring about the unity of believers.

 

God wants us to be of the same mind. He wants us to think with the mind of Christ. God's purpose is to bring all things in heaven and on earth into one head in the Lord Jesus. As the Lord works in our lives, you and I will become one, even as the Father and the Son are one. The unity of believers is the ultimate goal of the work of God in the church. God brings together those that are separated by sin and makes them one in Christ.

 

"Therefore receive one another, even as Christ also received you, to the glory of God." When we allow Christ to unite us with other believers it brings glory and honor to God. This is God's purpose in Christ. Let us set aside our differences and allow the Spirit of Christ to work in our lives and make us one. Let us receive one another, despite the differences that we might outwardly see, and become one in Christ. Let us do this so that God might be glorified in our lives.

 

Are you willing to reconcile yourself to others so that God might be glorified? Are you willing to reconcile yourself even to your enemies so that Christ may live in your heart? Does Christ mean more to you than all the grudges and resentments that you've been carrying around?

 

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