Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Romans 14: Living Like a Christian

In the last post I noted that the defining characteristic between Christians (and their neighbors) ought to be love. This is the posture we need to take to one another. When we talk about this very important idea, we usually end the discussion with love. We don’t want to get into the gritty details, because, well, the details are gritty and messy and someone may get offended so let’s just keep it all nice and abstract and talk about God’s love and leave it at that. Whew.

Paul doesn’t take that approach. He says, “love another,” and this is what that means. It means, don’t judge each other because God is judge. Some Christians are weak and can’t understand the grace of God, but “God has welcomed them.” Paul’s vision is that each Christian lives in honor of Jesus and in that honor seeks to lift up her brother or sister. If what I do, though not a sin, causes my fellow Christian to stumble, than I shouldn’t do it. Our goal as Christians is to live in love, which means according to Paul to, “pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” That means we will need to deny ourselves at times, because it ain’t about me. It’s about Jesus. Sometimes we use God’s grace as a hammer to those who are still learning. Paul reminds us that is a selfish way to live in faith. We are to live in God’s Kingdom, which “is not food or drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

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