Pt. 2 Here & Now vs. There & Then
The Saga of the Church in Rome
I am absolutely convinced that if we truly understood God’s love for us individually and his heart for the body of Christ the way we see, love, and value one another would look drastically different. After all, He did endure an excruciating, unfathomable death on the cross for this body of believers that he loves. As I’ve delved into this study of the “one another’s” my heart has been challenged and I am praying yours will be as well. To measure our love for one another against the word of God is sobering in and of itself however please be reminded that it is only by the work of His spirit that we will ever truly love one another as he has called us to. May our heart’s cry truly be to reflect His love and glory in the earth.
Romans 12 has been my place of rest for most of this study only because a huge chunk of the “one another’s” is addressed in this chapter. Why the book of Romans? Well, in my study of the church in Rome and the intent of this letter I found some pretty interesting facts. The church in Rome was a church transplant initiated by Paul which consisted of “liberal” Gentiles who had come to the faith and “law abiding” Jewish Christians. There were theological differences that needed clarification, sin issues, ethnic differences, and cultural differences. As a result of the mixed population there were tensions and even hatred that eventually led to division and discord. Paul graciously sought to bring clarification and balance throughout the book but specifically in Romans 12 you hear his plea for unity. He pleads with the body of Christ to fight for the unity that Christ prayed for prior to his death.
Does this sound familiar? The church in Rome experienced the same issues we experience within the church today. The reality is, sin and its affects are the same today as they were years ago. The spirit and heart of that prayer heard in Paul’s letter to the church in Rome is the same spirit crying out to the church today. God in his sovereignty has specifically established local gatherings of believers and within each body is a myriad of individuals from completely different walks of life i.e. ethnic backgrounds, family upbringing, “social class”, etc. Yet he calls for us to counter the culture of gathering with those who think, look, and experience the world like us and fight for unity under the banner of Christ. Who would need the “one another’s” if we all were carbon copies of “one another”? None of us! God in his sovereignty saves us, gives us His Spirit, places us within a diverse body of believers, and calls us to fight for unity by walking out the “one another’s”. So let’s delve in!
And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.
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