Romans 15:5-9a

In Romans 15:5-9a Paul begins by putting his words in the form of a prayer which indicates that it is the Holy Spirit at work in us that will allow us to live the way God desires. He reminds us that God is full of endurance and encouragement – He provides the strength and energy to keep going and the encouragement to keep our spirits up and focused. What’s the ultimate goal of life? Living in harmony with each other. “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.”

The purpose of living in harmony is so we can focus together on glorifying God and Christ. We accomplish that goal by having one mind and one mouth – by unity in our thinking and speech. It is impossible to truly worship God through division and conflict. We have to be able to put those things aside so we can truly focus on bringing our thoughts, prayers, songs and actions together to worship. That’s what glorifies God – when the body of Christ uses one voice – one purpose – one mission – one vision – one plan – to truly worship Him. When we’re together we are able to achieve God’s purpose for us on earth.

Paul continues and tell us that instead of letting issues about disputable things divide Christians (especially making a division between Jew and Gentile), we should receive one another just as Christ received us – in the terms of pure grace, knowing yet bearing with our faults. There are no perfect people, and thus no perfect Christians. “Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” Jesus knew that about each of us – that we are sinners and imperfect in many ways – yet He opens His arms to us and was willing to not only go to the Cross but to carry our sin on Him for our behalf.

Jesus didn’t make His life about Himself. He came to earth to serve and to proclaim God’s truth.  “For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.” Spurgeon wrote “Christ did not receive us because we were perfect, because he could see no fault in us, or because he hoped to gain somewhat at our hands. Ah, no! But, in loving condescension covering our faults, and seeking our good, he welcomed us to his heart; so, in the same way, and with the same purpose, let us receive one another.”

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