ACCEPT ONE ANOTHER
24 November 2013
Regardless of their culture or ethnicity, people generally value being accepted by others. Furthermore, whether it’s a common tattoo or a common song, people go to great lengths to be accepted into a group of likeminded individuals. On the flipside, failure to accept others often has disastrous consequences – from breaking up marriages to all sorts of wars. In all this, if there is any group of people who should be the very epitome of having an attitude of accepting others, it should be believers. After all, since God has accepted us, He is very concerned that we accept others.
But before we go and start making wholesale assumptions about the things we ought to (or ought not to) accept, we should take great care to understand the context of section. Here, Paul is not talking about accepting the huge theological errors of others. Rather, he refers to issues of personal preference that are not specifically commanded or forbidden in scripture. It's about personal traditions and standards which are often the roadblocks that prevent people from accepting one another.
Both weak and strong believers are in view here. While each may have personal lifestyle choices that are totally benign in their eyes, these choices can become a source of contention when viewed by others. So the weak believer might condemn the stronger for being too liberal whereas the strong might consider the weak believer to be more legalistic.
Paul gives us four reasons principles and applications for accepting each other. And in doing so, he gives us a model for enhancing our unity with other believers in Christ.
1. The Lord accepts each believer –– So should we! (vs 1-3)
2. The Lord sustains each believer –– So why the attitude? (vs 4)
3. The Lord is sovereign to every believer –– So don't interfere! (vs 5-9)
4. The Lord will judge every believer –– So why be critical? (vs 10-12)