“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” Romans 15:5-7
My prayer over the last few weeks for myself, is Lord deal with my judgmental attitudes. I can it seems tolerate a lot of things but I do struggle with some of the views of other Christians, especially when they differ from my own. I have found myself this week as a result praying that God would bless some of these folk who have different views to myself but profess Christ…
Reading through Romans again especially the last 4 chapters, I am struck with the fact that there are somethings we should contend for…but there are somethings that we should let go…
“One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.” Romans 14:5-6
What we should contend for here is not whether one day is more holy than another but rather that those that uphold such a view one way or the other are observing it in such a way that honours God…who is in the focus; is it Christ or man.
I feel I have wasted so much of my life being offended by the views of other Christians. (funny enough very rarely by non-Christians) At the end of the day if your eschatological view or whatever your thing is, happens to be different from mine, it is not that important, unless you try to make it a qualification of Salvation or it is quite a different Gospel from the one preached by the apostles…
But the nuances of belief, of whether one day is more holy than another, whether you can eat black pudding or not…whether you should dress up for church or not…whether Jesus is coming back before, during or after the millennium or whether indeed there is a millennium, whether we should sing Hymns or choruses, whether we are egalitarian or conplimentarian…are not nearly as important as whether we are in Christ…
This is far more important…My views on these lesser important issues have changed over the years. The funny thing looking back is I have always been able to maintain with a degree of certainty the sense of being right; and therefore others being wrong…and I am not sure if that in itself is a problem. What I do think is a problem is that an elevated sense of rightness on these lesser important issues that can be a stumbling block before others.
Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. Rom 14:13
It is not about ignoring these other issues…they are important! but not as important as knowing and being known by Christ.
Paul at the end of Romans makes his position clear on the most important things…those things that we should unequivocally agree upon.
“I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.” Rom 16:17-18
It has been said and we agree fundamentally “Jesus plus nothing equals everything!”
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual up-building. Rom 14:17-19