Paul prayed for the Christians in Rome. They were new to the faith and he wanted them to be in unity. Were they in danger of division? Yes because they came from two different cultures - Gentile and Jewish.
Paul knew Scripture well enough to prove that God had promised to bring the Gentiles into the household of faith, under the Kingdom Covenant that the Jews enjoyed; ‘And again it is said, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people” (Romans 15:10). So in his letter to the Romans he emphasised how the Gentiles were to be included in God’s saving plan. Paul’s whole life’s purpose was given to it. ‘For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God’ (Romans 15:18-19).
But today we may also stand in danger of division. We live in a ‘global village’ connected by internet and news media to all parts of the world. We are free to enter into debates on spiritual issues with people who live on the other side of the world.
But the message from Paul to Christian believers today must be the same. Live in harmony with one another so you ‘can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God’. We need to concentrate on accepting one another as Jesus has accepted us, putting aside matters where we disagree about minor issues, all for the sake of glorifying the Lord.
It’s not only within the world-wide community that we can fall into arguments and disputes, but also within the local Christian fellowship. How easily we can be diverted from Jesus’ new commandment to love one another as He loved us. Yet the world will see the reality of God’s love if we love one another, refusing to allow the enemy to divide us with rejection in relationships.
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, help me to stop and think whenever I find myself getting into arguments and disagreements with my brothers and sisters in the faith. May I not feel I have to force my opinions upon others, and may I step back and allow you to be the judge and not me. Help me to really love others and accept them as You do, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
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