Yesterday, we ended with Romans 14:1-4 where Paul said to accept “one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters.” Hmmm.
Disputable means debatable, arguable, legitimate points of view on both sides, even though one side, in the case of Roman Christians, came from a weak faith and the other from a stronger faith. No matter, said Paul. God accepts both, and so should we.
What is a weak faith? Paul doesn’t tell us exactly, but he seems to be saying those with weak faith were the ones insisting that everyone believe the same thing they believed. Their faith was insecure. Those with strong faith were serene. Differences of opinion had no effect on their own faith. They knew that the bedrock of their faith was grace in Christ–period.
If there is anything in scripture that one daring to be all things to all people must seize, it is grace. Over and over again in his writings, Paul emphasized the salvation of Christ through God’s grace. For example, in Romans 3:24: “…[A]ll are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
Again, in Ephesians 2:8-9: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.”
However, Christians of every age have struggled to keep salvation by works at bay. As Paul wrote, works are from ourselves. Grace is God’s free gift in Christ. As believers, we may do many works–not to be saved but because we have been saved.
Paul possessed a strong faith because he readily accepted God’s grace. And isn’t that the dividing line between strong and weak faith? While God accepts both, how much closer to God we would be with his grace at the center of our lives!
Tomorrow, the end–of this discussion about Paul’s becoming all things to all people. Would love to hear from you.