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ROMANS 14:1-4

Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgement on disputable matters. One man’s faith allows him to eat anything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

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The problem with disputable issues is that so often those on at least one side of the dispute consider it to be clearly “indisputable”. Hence the dispute.

If we are to have grace for one another we need to first stand firmly (indisputably) in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, understanding that salvation and security is by faith in him alone. This is central, foundational. If we are centred in Christ, it is possible, then, for us to get many other things wrong but still be anchored in grace. Similarly, it is possible for our sisters or brothers who are likewise anchored in Christ’s grace to understand many things differently than us, but still stand in grace. As the Lord extends grace, so should we.

What are the disputes that pit believer against believer? In Paul’s day it was meat-eating and wine-drinking and Sabbath-keeping. Certainly these disputes continue. I have an Adventist friend who sees these very issues differently than me, but we count one another brothers in Christ. We value and respect one another. Drinking wine or beer? The role of women in church leadership? Whether we sing worship songs from certain sources or not? Being Liberal or Conservative or New Democrat or Green or Bloc Québécois (if in Canada)? Or Democrat or Republican (if in US)? Or (insert your own political parties if you live elsewhere)?

All of these can be viewed in such different ways. It is right and good to engage in thoughtful thinking and wise discernment on these issues. We want to bring everything under the instruction of our Lord. But if we are standing together firmly on the foundation of Christ’s grace we can manage to set aside the rolling of eyes and the glare of condemnation. Indeed, we are called to do so.

“For God has accepted him.” That’s where my brothers and sisters in Christ find themselves standing. How can I not stand with them?

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O Lord, you who died to forgive me and wash me clean and hold me for all eternity – praise your name! I marvel that you have accepted me. I marvel that you have accepted so many others who think so differently than I do. Grant me grace to hold on to grace, extending my own grace to those who have already received yours. In your grace-filled name – Amen.

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Reflect: Who is one fellow-believer (there may be many – choose just one) in your current circle whose thinking and values offend you? Ask the Lord to show you how he views them. How can you live-out that same attitude toward this person in the next several days?


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