Christ’s Acceptance Of Diversity
Accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.
When we consider the call in Romans 15 to limit our liberty, Paul said we should imitate Christ’s acceptance of diversity. In Romans 15:7, he said, “Accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.” He said the same thing in Romans 14:1: “Accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.” In other words, accept the other person who does not agree with you. God accepts him just as He accepts you, so you ought to accept the other person.
God does not demand that we all be alike. He accepts diversity. In Romans 15:8-9, Paul said, “Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers, and for the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy.” When Christ came to earth the first time, the Romans hated the Greeks. The sons of Ishmael hated the sons of Isaac. But the greatest division was between the Jews and the Gentiles. Paul was saying, “When Christ came, He died for the Jews, and He also died for the Gentiles. If Jesus accepts and celebrates that kind of diversity in the body of Christ, then why shouldn’t we?”
Paul closed in Romans 15:13 with this benediction: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” What does God want for you? He wants your life to be filled with joy and peace. How do that joy and peace come? Only by believing in the promise of God.
When you believe those promises of God, you will abound in hope. That word “abound” refers to a river that overflows its banks. There is so much rain that the river swells up, and if you stand alongside the bank you get splashed by the water of the river. Paul said your life as a Christian ought to be the same way. There ought to be so much hope overflowing in your life that if people stand next to you, they cannot help but get splashed with the hope that is in your life. Unfortunately, when most people stand too near a Christian, they get splashed with discouragement, discontentment, or fear about what is happening in the world. We are not to be like that. Because we believe in the promises of God, our lives ought to overflow with hope.
I think it is interesting that this benediction starts with God. “May God . . .” (15:13). The universe was created by God, and it is sustained by God. And it is all for the glory of God. That is the purpose of everything. What is true of the universe is also true of your life. You exist because God created you. God, by His sovereign choice, has saved you. God right now is sustaining you, and He is doing it for His glory.
My life is not about me; it is about God. That realization is the best cure for the “I” problem.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Cure For “I” Problems” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.