Today, Friday April 09
Romans 14:1-4 – Unity with Diversity As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
So often you might hear someone say, especially when there is quarreling and strife going on between people, “Why can’t we just get along with each other.” It’s amazing how we all seem to think that our opinion is right and we know better than anyone else.
My friend, this is nothing new. From the beginning of mankind, since sin entered the world corrupting our lives, there has been conflict among humans. The first two boys born into the human race had a conflict that ended in murder. Almost every local church mentioned in the New Testament had divisions to contend with.
Some of these problems stemmed from the backgrounds of the believers in the churches. The Jews, for example, were saved out of a strict legalistic background that would be difficult to forget. The Gentiles never had to worry about diets and days. The first church council in history debated the issue of the relationship of the Christian to the Law (Acts 15).
And the church at Rome was no different. The believers in Rome were divided over special diets and special days. Some of the members thought it was a sin to eat meat, so they ate only vegetables. Other members thought it a sin not to observe the Jewish holy days. If each Christian had kept his convictions to himself, there would have been no problem, but they began to criticize and judge one another. The one group was sure the other group was not at all spiritual.
Unfortunately, we have similar problems today with many "gray areas" of life that are not clearly right or wrong to every believer. Some activities we know are wrong, because the Bible clearly condemns them. Other activities we know are right, because the Bible clearly commands them. But when it comes to areas that are not clearly defined in Scripture, we find ourselves needing some other kind of guidance.
So in these next two chapters of Romans, Paul gives us some principles to guide us in these areas. He explained how believers could disagree on nonessentials and still maintain unity in the church. Our greatest witness to the world around us is our unity despite our diversity! May the Lord help us with this!