Sunday – November 13, 2022
Word On Worship – Sunday – November 13, 2022
Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God. For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers, and for the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy…
Paul is concluding his appeal to the (mostly Gentile) strong and the (mostly Jewish) weak factions in the church of Rome to show the love of Christ to each other. In Romans 14:1, he told those who were strong to accept those who were weak in faith, but here he extends the command to both sides. But Paul’s goal is that the Gentile and Jewish believers in Rome would not only genuinely accept one another in their daily relationships, but also that they would join together in worship to God for His mercy in accepting us through Jesus Christ.
If you look for a church that is made up of people who are “your kind of people,” people who are just like you in their cultural background, their politics, and their likes and dislikes, you’re missing the radical nature of Paul’s command here. In the context, the “one another” represented those from conservative, religious, Jewish backgrounds, who had been taught from childhood not to defile themselves with any contact with “Gentile dogs.” It also included Gentiles from pagan backgrounds, who thought that the Jews were a bunch of legalistic, hyper-religious prudes. In other words, the other person whom you are to accept is precisely the person who is radically different than you are in almost every way!
If Christ had only accepted those who had achieved a high level of righteousness, no one would marvel. That’s how the world system works. You earn your way. But the fact that Christ accepts sinners who come to Him for mercy and forgiveness glorifies God and His abundant grace. When God converted a proud, self-righteous Jew, who hated Gentiles and killed Christians, and turned him into the apostle to the Gentiles, that glorified God! When God opened your eyes and mine to see that our own self-righteousness is worthless trash so that we embraced Christ as our righteousness, that glorified God!
We Gentiles did not receive any covenant promises from God in the Old Testament, yet He graciously included us in His promises to the fathers (Gen. 12:1-3). When we receive God’s mercy rather than His deserved judgment, it causes us to glorify Him. Now we are to demonstrate God’s mercy in our relationships with those in the church who are different than we are. The church should be a place where everyone can find and experience God’s abundant mercy. This means that we are to be gracious and merciful towards one another, especially when someone has offended us or acted insensitively toward us. Christ’s servant ministry to Israel and His mercy to the Gentiles serve as our example of what it means to accept one another.