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Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”
As we begin this week, Paul begins to bring a close his presentation. He addresses both groups: the strong and the weak. Both Jews and Gentiles are to accept one another—that’s what it means to follow Christ.
We’re to be unified in the essential doctrines of the faith and willing to set aside our differences on disputable matters.
Truly there were great differences between the Jews and the Gentiles, but these differences never should have divided them.
Why? Because they were all justified by faith, and through that same faith were now children of God. God accepted them both. If God has accepted them, why would we not accept them? You see, the power of the gospel overcame all differences they may have had and unified them through the blood of Christ.
The same is true for us today; God has accepted us, so we’re to accept one another. Think about it…the love of God–the greatest love ever known, a love full of mercy and compassion–is the kind of love that has been shown to us. Since that is true, then it should not be too difficult for us to extend the hand of friendship to another person who is loved by the One we honor and worship! Think about the depth from which you’ve been saved and the grace that has been shown to you, how undeserved it was. Yet, it didn’t stop Jesus from loving you–loving you so much that He gave His life for you!
When we fight over disputable matters, we’re like the two blind men Jesus talked about who were trying to lead each other…all they did was end up falling into the ditch together. That’s what happens to us when we fail to love people as Christ would love them; we end up falling into a ditch. We miss the mark. We can’t get so distracted looking at the speck of sawdust in our brother’s eye that we fail to notice the plank in our own eye. All of this is pointless; all it does is divide believers. What it all boils down to is that we’re focusing on things that don’t really matter in the end. (Luke 6:39 c.f.)
Listen to Jesus’s own words: “And what is the point of calling me, ‘Lord, Lord’, without doing what I tell you to do? Let me show you what the man who comes to me, hears what I have to say, and puts it into practice, is really like. He is like a man building a house, who dug down to rock-bottom and laid the foundation of his house upon it (Luke 6).” This is who we want to be; we want to build our lives upon Christ, the solid foundation.
It makes me think of what Terry has been driving home over the last month: faith expressing itself in love. This should be the goal. Let’s do what God wants us to do. Let’s give our lives away for the Gospel.
A good starting point for today would be to ask God to show you areas where you’re judging others over disputable matters. Ask Him to show you areas of pride, even the small and subtle ways and those you’re unaware of. Now confess them, let go of them, and choose to live decidedly for Christ. Live life by a faith that expresses itself in love!
*From what you have just read and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the Gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible. The Cambridge Bible Commentary, Romans, Best, Ernest. Romans 8-16 For You: For reading, for feeding (God’s Word For You – Romans Series Book 2, Keller, Timothy.