Receive One Another (Romans 15:7)
Romans 15:7, Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.
As our Lord has received us (both Jew and Gentile), we are instructed to receive each other. Paul is not dealing with major doctrinal differences. Rather, he is dealing with brethren who were prejudiced against each other over minor differences of understanding.
The greater principle is unity within a local church. A strong and mature church is one that is united where everyone accepts one another. There is no discrimination whatsoever in a strong church. The word "receive" means to take to oneself; to receive a person as a friend; to treat as the closest of friends with the most caring kindness. Believers are to receive one another in the closest of bonds.
1. The Greeting of the Example. "Receive ye one another." This speaks of receiving the "weak in the faith." Mature saints are not to exclude those who are "weak in the faith" from fellowship. "As Christ also received us." Paul encouraged us to receive each other as Christ has received us. How did Christ receive us? Christ received us with much grace, mercy, and love. He received us with all our faults. He received us when we were ungodly, sinners, and enemies (Romans 5:6-10). He saw us not as we were, but as we could be.
2. The Goal of the Example. "To the glory of God." The reason behind this welcomed reception is that God may be glorified. That is the highest and noblest motivation of all. The believer has the greatest pattern imaginable for how to treat the "weak in the faith": Christ Himself. Christ received us for the purpose that God may be glorified. Therefore, believers must receive each other so that God may be glorified through their lives and church. Just look at how far Christ went. Christ received the Gentiles and ministered to them. He came to bring them the mercy of God, that they might praise God for His mercy. Remember He received and ministered to the Gentiles when they were living the most licentious and indulgent life-style imaginable (Romans 1:18-32).
Paul was instructing his readers to treat one another with love and respect in the same way Christ treated us. We are to do the same to those who are "weak in the faith." Believers are to receive one another even as Christ has received us. Our relationships with one another are very important to the Lord. How we treat one another is not only a reflection of our relationship with God, it should develop from that relationship. No person is too prejudicial or critical, too weak or base for us to receive. Therefore, believers can receive one another. No one is too far gone to be rejected and cast away. If God accepted us into his family, we should not leave anyone out of the family. We will bring praise to God when we accept others as Jesus did.
Paul adds that Christian unity is based on our justification in Christ: We are received despite our weaknesses and errors; therefore, we should accept others despite their shortcomings and failures. In fact, the way you can tell how much you understand the Gospel is to look at how much you love people despite their flaws. Do you say: If God overlooks my sins through Christ, how can I fail to do so with this person?
Points to Ponder:
Prayer, Father, thank You for always seeing in me what others may never see in me and for giving me the strength and desire to serve You. Help me to utilize these truths for the purpose of ministering to others. Please show me how I can actively and passionately engage in the ministry opportunities You have sovereignly placed around me. Give me eyes to recognize these opportunities, a heart dependent on You, and a desire to come alongside people in my life to help them to grow into a deeper relationship with You. Amen!
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship with Christ.