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The Scripture Blog

A Lesson In Tolerance

In Romans, Paul was writing to Jewish and Gentile Christians. Their beliefs were hardly uniform, so Paul’s intention of being all things to all people was deeply challenged. Paul forged on. In Romans 14:5-9 (NIV), he wrote;

“One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.”

Are we hearing this? Is Paul saying that it’s possible for us to hold sincere beliefs that are different from the sincere beliefs of others?

And it appears that it’s unwise for us to look down on those who hold different beliefs. “You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat…So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another.” (14:10-13)

Paul added a caveat. Don’t allow individual beliefs to become stumbling blocks to weaker brothers and sisters who hold differing beliefs. Out of a spirit of love, do not create spiritual angst for them. Wait until their faith becomes strong.

Then Paul took being all things to all people to the highest level. “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification…So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.” (14:19,22) The supposed risk of becoming all things to all people ends with putting others ahead of ourselves by being in close communion with God.

“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” (Romans 15:7)

How does scripture about becoming all things to all people relate to issues that divide Christians today?

Much to think about.

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