The Law of Liberty

We can see in our national headlines the power of unity to fulfill a common goal. Each of us will never forget what happened September 11, 2001. Out of that terrible day we saw our nation join together in unity. President George W. Bush had the support of the nation as he led the … More

Unity

Down through the years divisions and contention have been a problem among believers. In fact almost every local church mentioned in the New Testament had divisions. The Galatian Christians were “biting and devouring” one another (Galatians 5:15). The Corinthians had members who were suing one another (I Corinthians 1:10-13;6:1-8). The saints in Ephesus and Colossi had to be reminded that Christian unity is important (Ephesians 4:1-3; Colossians 2:1-2) and the church at Philippi had two women who were quarreling with each other and were about to split the church (Philippians 4:1-3). Now we find the believers in Rome divided over special days and diets. Some of the members thought it was a sin to eat meat and so they ate only vegetables. Others had differing opinions on what special days were to be “holy days” and what ones weren’t. Unfortunately we have similar problems today in many areas of life that are not clearly spelled out as right and wrong.

Paul addresses those who are “weak in the faith” (those who wanted everyone to follow certain rules of what they ate and when they worshiped) and those “strong in the faith” (those who did not feel bound by these man made rules v. 1). Each group were judging and condemning each other. Paul proceeds to explain how believers can disagree on the nonessentials and still maintain unity in the church. The first step is to keep those kind of convictions to ourselves and stop trying to force them on others. Each Christian needs to examine his own heart and be sure he is doing what he feels the Lord would have him do.

Application

It is so easy to look down on other Christians who do not live by all the same standards that I do. If I am to act as a mature Christian I must be sensitive to the consciences of other Christians. Unity starts in the mind.

Romans 14:1-6 (English Standard Version)

As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.

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