Welcoming One Another.
One man regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. 7 For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; 8 for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. 10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For it is written, "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall give praise to God." 12 So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God.
Believers in Jesus are the Body of Christ. If the believers are not welcoming one another, are holding each other in contempt, and judging one another according to their opinions and not according to the truth, then they cannot effectively seek to save the lost and build one another up in love (Luke 19:10; Ephesians 4:15-16). Read that last sentence again. Reflect on it and let it sink in.
When believers have different faith practices, such as the eating of food and the keeping of special days, that line up with God’s will, then the believers need to welcome one another and serve together in unity so they accomplish the will of God to get the gospel to the lost and serve one another with the gifts of grace they have been given to build each other up in love. Notice in our passage that both sides of the divided Body do what they do for the Lord with thanksgiving and Paul states neither side is sinning, just expressing their faith in ways they are convinced honor the Lord. Both sides of the divided Body believe they are saved by faith not by works.
The key phrase for unity in the Body is in verse eight, “We are the Lord’s." The scriptures do not say it is sin to eat special foods or not eat special foods. Jesus declared all foods clean (Mark 7:19). The scriptures do not say it is sin to hold some days as special or to consider all days alike.
We need to live and work with people who express their faith different from us, but in ways that are not sin in God’s Word. We need to work side by side with Christians of different opinions on how to live out their lives in Christ. The only thing we will judge is whether or not the expression of faith is clearly called sin in the Bible.
A good example in the church today is the use of alcohol. Some are free to drink without getting drunk and some think it is a sin to consume any alcohol. Both expressions of faith are not sin. The sin with alcohol is drinking until drunk.
We need to let God judge in areas where all we have is opinion and not Biblical directive. All of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Let each of us live and die serving the Lord by faith in Jesus.
May you see people the way Jesus does a little more today.
Three key questions to ask as we prayerfully read the scriptures:
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