Focus Passage: Romans 14:1-12
Have you ever seen a particular issue differently than another Christian? Obviously, yes! How, then, are we to handle these situations when they arise? This passage indicates we should show love and respect for other believers in these situations. But why? This week’s lesson presents four reasons: our acceptance by God; Christ’s death for us; our family relationship; and our accountability to God. I want to note two others here.
One is the unity issue. Christ died for us and the Holy Spirit indwells us, making us one in Christ. Therefore, the unity of the Spirit should be clearly evident among believers
This does not mean that we will always agree on everything.
The believers in Philippi certainly did not, which prompted Paul to write, “let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ … standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, striving side by side for the faith of the gospel” (Phil. 1:27). He also admonished the Ephesian believers to walk “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:2-3).
The unity issue sets the stage for the second issue, evangelism.
As we demonstrate love for, and unity with, our brothers and sisters in Christ, we set the stage for more effective evangelism. As we share a message about a God who loves us and has reconciled us to Himself and one another, that message should not only be heard from us but also seen in us. Jesus said that our love for one another corroborates our claim that we are His (John 13:35).
Unfortunately, Christians today are better known for throwing rocks at each other and “shooting our own wounded” than for our love for each other.
This passage is not calling us to overlook obvious sin or to “agree to disagree” about some clear scriptural teaching. It is calling for us to love and humbly respect one another, reminding each other that our ultimate accountability is to God, our loving Father and righteous Judge.