“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you…” (Romans 15:7)
We are commanded to accept one another, just as Christ accepted us.
Not just the act of acceptance, but it must be an attitude of acceptance.
The context of Romans 15:7 is this…
The essence of this “attitude of mind” is that there is a real sacrifice involved so that unity might be attained.
In another portion of Scripture, we read of Jesus’ Own attitude when He came to lay down His life for us: “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up His divine privileges… He appeared in human form, He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” (from Phil. 2:5-8) Think about it! Jesus willingly sacrificed “His divine privileges” to purchase our acceptance at the cross. In other words, you could not be more right than God… yet He thought it more important to provide our acceptance… than to be right. And the only way to do that was to sacrifice Himself (lay down His divine privileges and become one of us) and receive His Own judgment against our sins.
All for the purpose of unity between us… and Him. That was Jesus mindset.
And, to follow Jesus, it must be ours as well.
“But doesn’t doctrine matter? Isn’t the truth essential?!” Sure it does… and is. Being right is good. Finding and living the truth is truly desirable.
But the whole point of Jesus was that we were NOT right… we were NOT living in the truth – and He found one thing to be more important… union with Him. The “right” thing to do would have been to reject us… condemn us… judge us. And He would have been justified in doing so. But there was one thing more essential to God, than being right… and that was an unbroken relationship with us. Everything Jesus did was to restore that! That restoration was His attitude… His motivation.
And it must be ours as well.
The context of Romans 15 is Romans 14 (makes sense!) In Romans 14, the apostle is addressing real issues of doctrine in The Church. He flat out tells us: “this is right… and this other thing is from ‘weak faith.’” What is fascinating, is that the apostle (who was sent to “put things in order for God’s people”) did NOT tell us: “Quit being weak in the faith, here’s the truth – live by this!” Instead, we get: “Welcome one another… do not pass judgment on one another… or despise one another… or grieve one another… and pursue peace with one another and mutual upbuilding.” Because…
Certainly, there is truth. There is right. But all these things must dwell under the grace-laden banner of acceptance and unity. According to the apostle, (and to God!), it is the value of acceptance and unity which we must value most.
Prayer Focus: God, search my heart… let me see the value of accepting people in accord with Your Own Heart towards us.