Bear with the Failings of the Weak and Not to Please Ourselves—Romans 15:1-2

"We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up" (Romans 15:1-2)

We have a responsibility as believers to build up and encourage our fellow believers if they are struggling with certain things. We are not to look to our own interests but to that of Christ. As such it is important for us to endure the struggles of our weaker brothers and sisters without passing judgment. Instead we should strive to encourage and build them up for good.

At first glance this passage seems like common sense and it would be easy to casually read right over it and miss the golden truth nestled inside. But the Amplified Bible explains it this way, "WE WHO are strong [in our convictions and of robust faith] ought to bear with the failings and the frailties and the tender scruples of the weak; [we ought to help carry the doubts and qualms of others] and not to please ourselves. Let each one of us make it a practice to please (make happy) his neighbor for his good and for his true welfare, to edify him [to strengthen him and build him up spiritually]" ( Romans 15:1-2 Amp ). So you see what Paul is saying is much more than just bearing each other's weaknesses without passing judgment. In this case we are to come along side those individuals who are struggling in their faith and help carry the burden of their doubts.

This can be accomplished by instruction in the word. Paul told Timothy "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" ( II Timothy 3:16-17 ). If our brethren are struggling in convictions, doubt or doctrine then the only way to help them is to show and teach them from the word and to build them up spiritually. The scriptures were given for this very purpose, to equip us for a godly life and give us instruction for everything we will encounter. Consequently their faith is built this way. Romans 10 says, "Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ" ( Romans 10:17 ). So if doubt or lack of faith is the issue than the solution is instruction in the word of God.

If we are strong in our convictions and robust of faith we must be patient with the tender scruples of the weak and help carry their doubts. This is done by strengthening and building them up spiritually. This is the only way to remove doubt and inner struggle. Jesus told the disciples "then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" ( John 8:32 ). The truth is the truth, but to be free you have to know it. So if our brothers and sisters are struggling in faith because of doubts or lack of knowledge and understanding, then we should be reassuring them from the word of God to help build faith in them and see them freed by the truth we share. This makes for a happy life, but more than that it affects their true welfare; it strengthens, edifies and builds up spiritually so to be fully equipped for every good work in Christ.

This is a good word for today. Let us therefore encourage and build one another up in faith by learning and understanding the word of God. Jesus said concerning the words he spoke, "The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life" ( John 6:63 ). To those who take these precious words to heart they will be life and happiness forevermore. May you be blessed and encouraged by the truth of this passage, amen.

Christ Did Not Please Himself but Pleased the Father—Romans 15:3

"For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me" (Romans 15:3)

While on this earth Jesus did not seek that of his own interests, instead he was about his Father's business. We see this theme running throughout the gospels dating clear back to when he was twelve and his parents found him in the temple listening and asking questions. When they finally found him after searching intently, they asked why he had treated them in such a manner. He answered, "Why were you searching for me? Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" ( Luke 2:49 ). One way to put it was that it was necessary for him to be in His Father's house and occupied with His business. His parents didn't understand this at the time, but thankfully for us Jesus was consumed with the Father's will and accomplishing it on earth.

Today's passage is a reminder that we are to consider Christ, who looked not to his own interest or to pleasing himself, but instead looked to pleasing God. David prophesied about the Christ when he said, "for zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me" ( Psalm 69:9 ). Christ faced much opposition in this life but he gave no thought to these things. He was focused and on His mission the entire time. He was intent on doing the redemptive work that the Father gave him. Love and fervor for His house consumed him. This is evident in the things that Jesus said and did. He constantly reminded the disciples that he only said what the Father said and he only did what he saw the Father do ( John 5:19 ). He said that the works he did testified to the fact that he came from the Father. ( John 10:25 ). He was consumed with his mission and showed us the Father by who he was. Hebrews says, "The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being" ( Hebrews 1:3a ). Everything that God is can be seen and understood by knowing Christ; he is the exact representation of the Father for us. This was accomplished because He looked not to please himself but to please God and do His will.

As believers we are to follow Christ's example. Romans 15 begins by saying, "We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me." ( Romans 15:1-3 ). When we are seeking the interests of God and His kingdom we are building up each other in the truth because we are operating as God operates. Not only will we encourage our brothers and sisters in living this way, but we are showing Christ to the world. I John 4:17 says, "In this world we are like him", the King James Bible says it this way, "because as he is, so are we in this world". Just as Christ was the exact representation of God to the world so that we could understand him, we are the exact representation of Christ in this world. This likeness was deposited in our born again spirits so if we live out of this new nature then the world around us will see Christ and know the Father by our actions.

What an amazing truth to know and understand. We should not look to our own interests but we should be looking to God and operating in his will for our lives. We should be consumed with His house and busy about His business. We are to consider Christ as our example and pursue the kingdom in everything we do building up and encouraging the body and showing God's love to the world.

The Scriptures Were Written to Give Us Hope—Romans 15:4

"For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope" (Romans 15:4)

Hope is an amazing thing. If you can cling to hope in the midst of trials, a difficult situation can become bearable because hope will enable you to get through it. As believers hope is a necessary part of life. We must cling to certain things so that we can come out on the other side of difficulties unscathed by the world around us. Romans 8:24 says, "hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? "The realization of our hope cannot be seen yet, but today's passage explains to us where this hope is rooted and where to find this hope necessary for life.

Paul said, "For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope" ( Romans 15:4 ). The Word of God was written to give us hope in this life.  Hope in this passage of Romans 15 is subjective; which means we must use the personal accounts of scripture to decide and determine for ourselves where our hope is based. We are to take the information presented and make a judgment on it. Will we use it to have the hope that the Word offers? Or will we disregard the Word as just another book and wander through life hopelessly? The scriptures were written to encourage us and build us up in faith, love and hope.

Vines Dictionary defines this type of hope as 'favorable and confident expectation'. It has to do with the unseen and the future. This definition of hope describes the happy anticipation of the good which is coming for the believer. It comes from the Greek word, elpis (el-pece') which means to anticipate, usually with pleasure; expectation or confidence. As you can see, hope is essential to the believer. We can rest securely in our future because of the hope the scripture offers us with Jesus as our guarantor.

Here are some examples of the hope the scriptures highlight. As believers these are meant to encourage us and teach us, giving us the foundation to place our expectations on. As Christians we have hope of the resurrection of the dead ( Acts 23:6 ). Hope of the promise ( Acts 26:6-7 ). The hope of righteousness ( Galatians 5:5 ). The hope of the Gospel ( Colossians 1:23 ). The hope of the glory of God ( Romans 5:2 ). The blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and savior Jesus Christ ( Titus 2:13 ). The hope of salvation ( I Thessalonians 5:8 ). The hope of his calling ( Ephesians 1:18 ). The hope of eternal life ( Titus 1:2, Titus 3:7 ). The hope of Israel ( Acts 28:20 ). All of these things are very important for us to know and be built on and encouraged in. Understanding these truths as presented in the scriptures will help us decide and know the hope of our calling and future in Christ Jesus.

Paul told Timothy, "But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" ( II Timothy 3:14-17 ). This is why we cling to the word of God, which is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. It gives us the foundation for the hope we have in Christ Jesus. That foundation is a sure foundation based on Christ Jesus and the precious promises He has spoken to us. Today, I pray that you hold steadfast to the Word and draw your encouragement from it. You will be blessed with a wonderful expectation of the things which are coming. Knowing these things is what gives you the hope of your future with Christ.

The Spirit of Unity among Believers—Romans 15:5-6

"May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 15:5-6)

As believers we are called into one body, the body of Christ Jesus. We are to strive for unity among ourselves in all things. Unity is the state of being one or single of minded. We are to be likeminded with Christ and renew our minds to the endurance and encouragement the scripture offers us. We should make an effort to dwell in the spirit of unity between believers; there should be no divisions or arguments among us. We should live in mutual harmony out of love for each other in accordance with Christ Jesus.

Paul wrote to the Church at Ephesus, "As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit-just as you were called to one hope when you were called" ( Ephesians 4:1-4 ). It takes effort to get a long and be in agreement with other brothers and sisters in Christ. It is definitely a lesson in love. It takes humility, patience and endurance but we are to be eager to guard and keep this harmony and oneness into which we were called. Unity is produced by the spirit of God and it has the power to bind us together in peace.  We were called to one hope and as such we have more in common with each other than not, so we should recognize this and strive to live in mutuality in Christ Jesus.

David said in the Psalms, "How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!" ( Psalm 133:1 ). This is because there is power in the unified body of Christ Jesus. When we are in singleness of mind then we are a force to be reckoned with. The opposite is also true, if there are fights and quarreling among us then we keep ourselves out of service to the real battles in life.

Look at what happened on the day of Pentecost. The Bible says that the disciples were all together in one accord, and suddenly a sound like a mighty rushing wind came down from heaven and filled the house where they were staying. The disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other tongues. The sound drew a large crowd from the town and they heard the disciples speaking to them, each in their own language. The crowd marveled as Peter addressed them with the good news of Christ. Three thousand people were added to their numbers that day (Acts 2). All of this happened because they were together in one accord or in unity among themselves and the power of God was present and able to work among them.

Consider what continued to happen as a result of that day, "They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved" ( Acts 2:42-47 ). They continued in unity and oneness and many wonderful things happened among them and the kingdom grew as a result.

When we are in singleness of mind then the power of God is able to work among us. Paul said in today's passage that we bring glory and praise to God our Father in this way. Out of one heart and one mouth we will glorify Him. Today, I pray that you make every effort to live in unity with other believers. May the spirit of God grant you the love and patience required to live in singleness of mind so that the power of God will be evident in your lives and through it bring glory to God.

Accept One Another Just as Christ Accepted You—Romans 15:7

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

Christ has established you not on the basis of your family heritage, financial status, the color of your skin or any other factor. In fact He looks at you in a totally different way than we might look at ourselves or others around us. He has accepted us because of His great love and desire to bring Glory to God. There is no better truth than this, we are loved and accepted by God because Christ made us worthy by paying the ultimate price for us.

When we put our trust in Jesus as our savior then we became children of God and co-heirs with Christ ( Romans 8:17 ). We now belong to the promise spoke to Abraham; as such we are included as His chosen people on earth. "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" ( Galatians 3:26-29 ). What a marvelous thing to be included in. We are not our own, nor will we wander this earth without a purpose or direction. We have been included in Christ Jesus' family and since we bear His name we have an incredible heritage reaching far back to the patriarchs, prophets and kings.

Paul said something similar in his letter to Colossae, "Put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity" ( Colossians 3:10-14 ). As the body of Christ we are to treat each other just as Christ has treated us. We are to clothe ourselves with His virtues and treat one another with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. All of this can be accomplished by deciding to love each other and letting Christ's love flow through us. Love is the bond that brings about this unity and oneness.

So then, just as Christ has accepted us into His family we are to welcome and receive one another. Paul reminded us in the previous passage of Romans 15 that when we operate in unity as the body of Christ we have one heart and one mouth to praise God ( Romans 15:6 ). This is a powerful medium for the Spirit of God to work among us bringing glory to the Father. This can only happen if we put aside our differences and live together in oneness with Christ as the center. When we remind ourselves of what Jesus did for us, then any differences that we might encounter among other believers is petty. We should strive for unity because we were called into one body and one fellowship. We belong to Christ.

Today, I pray that this passage has quickened your heart to strive for unity with your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. If there are any differences or unforgiveness that needs to happen to restore fellowship, I pray that Christ gives you the grace and humility to do it. This attitude and desire for oneness brings glory to God. May you accept each other today, remembering that Christ has also accepted you, amen!

Juli Camarin

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