If possible, as far as depends on you, live peaceably with all (Rm. 12:18).
In some ways, the Christian life is seemingly a paradoxical one. For, on the one hand, we all called into action against the powers of this age, and, on the other, we are called to endure them with patience. What makes the Christian life not paradoxical is the Gospel, for we are commanded to be active in the Gospel’s proclamation and in its demonstration in our lives, but with regards to all other matters, we are called to be passive. That is why the apostle instructs the church at Rome in his epistle to them, “As far as depends on you, live peaceably with all” (v. 12:18). In other words, in all matters that are dependent upon us and our personal opinions and not dependent upon the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are called to live lives that demonstrate peacefulness to the world.
For any time that any matter which is not the Gospel, be they political matters, social matters, or what have you, is brought forth by the church and is harped upon in a divisive manner, the Gospel is tainted and made to be second rate. For this reason, the apostle gives this instruction:
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all (vv. 12:14-17).
For all these matters–persecution, rejoicing, mourning, social associations, and retribution–all these are subservient to the Gospel and should be utilized in such a way as to make Jesus Christ and his Gospel known to the world.
In spite of this declaration by the apostle, we find more often than not that the Gospel does in fact become an issue of second-order in the church, and peace is sacrificed for the sake of lesser things. We should be admonished as the church to find our only identity in the Gospel of our Lord and to endure the lesser things of this age with patience and peacefulness. For when we do not, we become like the world and are indistinguishable from their numerous groups who seek to divide on every issue under the sun. We should rather put our only stake and make our only offense in the Gospel, so that the Gospel would be seen as preeminent in our lives thereby declaring to the world Christ without hindrance.
Categories: Fridy Night Bible Study