1Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves.
2Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification.
3For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “THE REPROACHES OF THOSE WHO REPROACHED YOU FELL ON ME.”
4For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
5Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus,
6so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.
8For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers,
9and for the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy; as it is written,
“HEREFORE I WILL GIVE PRAISE TO YOU AMONG THE GENTILES,
AND I WILL SING TO YOUR NAME.”
10Again he says,
“REJOICE, O GENTILES, WITH HIS PEOPLE.”
“PRAISE THE LORD ALL YOU GENTILES,
AND LET ALL THE PEOPLES PRAISE HIM.”
12Again Isaiah says,
“THERE SHALL COME THE ROOT OF JESSE,
AND HE WHO ARISES TO RULE OVER THE GENTILES,
IN HIM SHALL THE GENTILES HOPE.”
13Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Paul introduces this next thought with his thesis, while related to his previous message of the strong helping the weak, he goes on to tell us how we do that and why we should. I look at this first verse as him telling us that if we are strong, not to use it for our own personal gain, but rather to share that strength with those who need it.
So then, how do we do it? He tells us next to follow Christ’s example. Keep in mind, this is something we get to do as a worship to God, not something we are commanded to do as a chore. Evenso, we realize that we are not God and the only way to follow Christ’s example is to have faith in His grace and to accept it. Notice that Christ’s ministry started by His baptism and recognition of His full commitment to the Father.
It’s at this point I am realizing a similarity. Acknowledging Christ is stronger than us, He has offered His strength to us and we gain that strength as we accept it. Now, look at what Paul has told us about the strong helping the weak and the weak respecting the strong. Same thing. It’s a double example of us following Christ’s lead on a very practical and personal level. We experience the same thing we are to do unto others. The source is Christ and as we follow His example, that power flows through us onto others who then are able to do the same.
Why should we do it? I’d like to plainly say, “why shouldn’t we?” but that doesn’t quite answer the question. The answer is unity. Paul recalls the scriptures to explain that Christ’s mission is to save all, not just Jew, not just Gentile. It is the purpose of Christ for all to be saved and in order to do this, we must remain united and help each other along the way, regardless of our differences (exemplified here by Jew vs. Gentile). Through that we can abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Who’s example are you following and why?