Romans 15:1-2 ESV
“We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.”
So far if you are not, please be in the habit of checking out the context of Bible verses before you begin to interpret what you believe they are saying. Well, we should not be interpreting them by ourselves anyway. We should be letting the Holy Spirit interpret what they mean, but we are to be diligent to do our best to rightly handle the word of truth, so it is critical that we understand them in their proper context, for that makes all the difference.
In chapter 13 we are instructed that in loving one another that we are not to commit adultery, that we are not to murder, that we are not to steal, and that we are not to covet, etc. for all these commandments are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” For “love does no wrong to a neighbor, therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” So, from that we can safely assume that we are not to bear with Christians sinning against each other. For that is not love.
In chapter 14 we get the meaning of “failings” so that we do not wrongly interpret this as saying that we should just put up with other Christians doing hateful deeds to one another. This is not about tolerating willful and deliberate and harmful sins in our brothers and sisters in Christ. When this says “weak” it is talking about those who were Jews who became Christians but who were having a difficult time letting go of some of the Old Covenant restrictions and customs, such as having to do with what we can eat.
So, if a believer in Jesus believes that he is not to partake of certain foods, we are not to judge him in this, and he is not to judge us if we have the freedom to eat certain foods. And if a believer in Jesus believes he must regard one day a week as better than another (i.e. Saturday or Sunday), we are not to judge him, and he is not to judge us if we regard all days alike. For if we are true followers of Jesus we eat and we regard certain days in honor of the Lord in thankfulness of heart (not everyone does, though).
So, we are not to get into quarrels with our fellow Christians over things which are regarded a matter of opinion or which are disputable matters, or which do not affect our eternal life with God one way or another. Instead, we should be concerned over our professed brothers and sisters in Christ living in deliberate and habitual sin, lying, cheating, stealing, committing adultery, engaged in sexual immorality, doing what is truly harmful to one another.
Romans 15:3 ESV
“For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, ‘The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.’”
Jesus Christ, God the Son, did not seek what was comfortable for him when he lived on this earth, but he always did the things which pleased God the Father. And he did for others what was for their ultimate good, as God defines “good,” not as man does. He was willing to come to earth and to humble himself and take on human form and to be hated, persecuted, misunderstood, falsely accused, harassed, attacked, betrayed, denied, forsaken, beaten, and put to death, although he had done no wrong.
And he went through all of that because he loves us, and he knew this is what it would take for us to have salvation from sin and eternal life with God. He had to suffer and die for us on that cross and to be raised from the dead so that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, in his power and strength. He gave his life up for us on that cross to free us from our slavery (addiction) to sin so we would now be slaves of God and of his righteousness, with him as our Lord (Master).
And so we need to not get weighed down over things that really don’t matter for eternity. We should not be arguing with each other over things that may not even exist, in reality, but may be things we are being lied to about with the purpose to get us all stirred up and fearful and fighting with one another. And this is happening, whether you recognize it or not. So, if someone has a difference of opinion from us over when Jesus is going to return, let it go! Jesus is going to return when he is ready no matter what we think.
So, when it comes to matters of opinion or matters of freedom to do what we believe is right while others are not there yet, again not talking about sin issues, we are to let those go and we are to just love one another despite our differences. For if all of us are in Christ, we do have the common bond of Christ and his righteousness and his love, so we should let those things bind us together. But with regard to sin, those things need to be addressed and dealt with in a biblical manner in order to save people’s souls from hell.
Romans 15:4 ESV
“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
We do not throw out the Old Testament just because we are now living under grace and we are not having to keep all those liturgical, ceremonial, sacrificial and purification laws of the Old Covenant, including the law of circumcision (though I think that was for males only). But when we read the Old Testament, we read it in light of the New Covenant. But let me tell you that much of the Old Testament teaches New Covenant teaching. And the Old Testament writings prophesied of the Messianic age, too.
So, I would recommend if you are new to the faith that you read the New Testament first so that you can read the Old Testament in light of what Jesus did for us on that cross. But let me say this. Just because we don’t have to obey all those ritualistic rules and regulations of the Old Covenant it doesn’t mean we no longer have to obey our Lord’s commands.
The New Testament is filled with instructions that tell us if we are to know God and to have his salvation from sin and eternal life that we must obey his instructions to us given to us in the New Testament, much of which was also taught in the Old Testament. In the New Testament we are taught that it is not those who say “Lord, Lord,” who will inherit the kingdom of heaven, but it is those DOING (in practice) the will of God the Father who is in heaven.
So, some things have not changed from the Old to the New. We still have to forsake our lives of sin and our idols and we still have to humble ourselves and submit to Christ as Lord, and we still have to obey his teachings to us, which include the teachings of the apostles and the writers of the New Testament. But we don’t do this in our own power and strength. For when we are born anew of the Spirit of God, He comes to live within us, and he now empowers us to live godly and holy lives to the praise of God. Amen!
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Ac 26:18; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
His Tender Mercies
An Original Work / January 26, 2014
Fear not! I’m with you.
Be not dismayed!
God watches o’er you.
Trust Him today.
He’ll lead and guide you;
Give you His aid.
He’ll love and keep you
With Him always.
Walk in His footsteps.
He’ll lead the way.
Trust in His love;
Believe that He cares.
He will not leave you.
Faithful He’ll be.
His tender mercies
Now you will see.
Fellowship with Him
Throughout the day.
Tell Him your heartaches.
He’ll heal always.
Rest in His comfort.
He is your friend.
Your faith He’ll strengthen,
True to the end.