Reading through Romans
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory. You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.
A reading from Romans: Romans 15:1-13 (NLT)
We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves. We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. For even Christ didn’t live to please himself. As the Scriptures say, “The insults of those who insult you, O God, have fallen on me.”
Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.
May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.
Remember that Christ came as a servant to the Jews to show that God is true to the promises he made to their ancestors. He also came so that the Gentiles might give glory to God for his mercies to them.
That is what the psalmist meant when he wrote: “For this, I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing praises to your name.” And in another place it is written, “Rejoice with his people, you Gentiles.” And yet again, “Praise the Lord , all you Gentiles. Praise him, all you people of the earth.” And in another place Isaiah said, “The heir to David’s throne will come, and he will rule over the Gentiles. They will place their hope on him.”
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Reflection: Romans 14:13b-23 (John Stott, The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World)
The will of God for changed relationships: (Romans 12:1–15:13)
All believers, irrespective of their ethnic origin, are brothers and sisters in the one international family of God, and so all have precisely the same vocation to be the holy, committed, humble, loving and conscientious people of God.
(Romans 14:1-15:13) Our relationship to the weak: welcoming, and not despising, judging or offending them
If we are trying to picture a weaker brother or sister, we must not envisage a vulnerable Christian easily overcome by temptation, but a sensitive Christian full of indecision and scruples. What the weak lack is not strength of self-control but liberty of conscience.
2. The negative consequences (Romans 14:2–15:13)
c. Do not please yourselves (15:1–13)
What is [the strong] Christian’s responsibility towards the weak? 1. Bear with the weak’s failings; 2. not please themselves; and 3. build up the weak. Edification is a constructive alternative to demolition.
Why should we please our neighbour and not ourselves?
(i) Because Christ did not please himself (3–4)
This simple statement ‘sums up with eloquent reticence both the meaning of the incarnation and the character of Christ’s earthly life’.
(ii) Because Christ is the way to united worship (5–6)
Christian unity is unity in Christ; the person of Jesus Christ himself is the focus of our unity; and therefore the more we agree with him and about him, the more we will agree with one another… so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(iii) Because Christ accepted you (7)
The weak brother is to be accepted for God has accepted him, and the members are to welcome each other just as Christ accepted you. Moreover, Christ’s acceptance of us was also in order to bring praise to God. The entire credit for the welcome we have received goes to him who took the initiative through Christ to reconcile us to himself and to each other.
(iv) Because Christ has become a servant (8–13)
Then Christ’s role as the servant of the Jews, that is, as the Jewish Messiah, is seen to have two parallel purposes, first to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs and secondly to incorporate the Gentiles as well.
Paul concludes this section of his letter with a benediction: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him (13a).
“In Christ Alone”
Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen