Monday, November 29, 2010

Romans 12:3-21 (Love is Service)

Once Paul gets down to the business of describing the secret to a successful Christian walk, he does what he did in all of his teaching. It was his pattern really. Thom Wolf calls it the Universal Disciple pattern. In it, Faith is our response to God’s gift of grace where we turn away from the old way of life and embrace the new. Hope is where we stand firm against the difficulties and persecution we face in the world. Love is the way we interact with each other. Here in Romans, Paul really focuses a lot on Love. There are three main thrusts he sees to the way Christians should live with each other in love:

The first is seen in humble service. Paul starts out by describing how we all should recognize that we are no better than any other Christian, but rather all a part of one body. We have all been gifted in special ways that—working together in the body—help us to accomplish the tasks God has laid out for us as a body.

He then goes on to create a list of the ways Christians should deal with each other in love. These days we are used to that phrase being used when we really want to chew someone out or criticize them for something we see in them that is wrong. That is not what Paul has in mind; instead, loving each other means honoring each other, showing affection, and keeping the peace. We are to work hard for the benefit of each other. Especially for those with whom we do not get along. If you think the church is a place where you will not have “enemies,” you have not been around many churches. The best of families have conflict and the family of God on earth is no different.

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