“Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” – Romans 15:7, ESV
A Call to Believers
Context is everything and brother Paul speaks volumes in a few short words in this middle chapter in the great book of Romans. The passage here addresses those people known as “other” believers from the standpoint of acknowledgment. Yet, the greater point is honoring the seen or unseen differences among others, especially with weaker or vulnerable individuals, in order to find strength in numbers.
Therefore and Then Some
The verses that follow this one verse provide some additional “flavor” to this call to sincere acceptance that should flow graciously from within. We must set aside our impatience, frustration, irritation, our "get things done now" attitude and even our human pride. The Scripture here is telling us that this honoring the “other” by way of heartfelt welcome is likened to our experience of Christ’s love. We who are strong must bear those who are less so.
These two scriptural points serve as the solid follow up to the word, therefore. This first word calls our attention to the genuineness of welcoming and loving through our actions when it comes to truly caring for “one another.”
How quickly we forget that Christ is in the middle of all our fellowship gatherings, no matter the reason, no matter the subject, no matter how brief. We can find strength in numbers when we treat each other with love and care. This commanding word, therefore, calls upon our concentration and awareness, offered in all honesty — even when we do not have those emotional reserves within us. This is Paul’s insistence on how things should be.
God’s Glory Seen Through Our Love
We can only imagine Paul’s hand-written letter when first read to a group he did not know, compelling them to fulfill Christ’s explicit command in essence, to love in the same way he has done in this one verse. It may seem like a tall order, but Christ’s expectations are given knowing that it takes both effort and sacrifice, humanly speaking.
Paul wants to see the gospel lived out in practical ways, both then and now, as the written Word shares the same message today for our lives as Christians. Who are the weaker ones in your group? Who needs to know they are a special “other?” Who needs to be welcomed with a full embrace of Christ’s holy love?
These simple words solidify the gospel experience and the importance of the fellowship that meets together for righteousness’ sake, no holds barred. Where else can a person find such a place, that demonstrates the love of the cross event so clear?
God’s glory is demonstrated in action with this act of welcoming, and fully accepting, all the ones that Jesus gave his life for. This is the mark of an emotionally healthy and spiritually mature group of believers and what we are simply and vitally called to become.
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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.