II. The Strong Must Bear the Weak: The Example of Christ to Church Unity

For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me” (Rm. 15:3).

When it comes to those to whom Christians are to look for guidance and inspiration to live their lives, their focus should be Singular. For there is only one Man who lived perfectly for the sake of God and his glory, and that man is Jesus Christ. And though there are others to whom we can look to as a godly examples, their example is only good insofar as it accords with the example of Jesus Christ. For while there have always been, by God’s grace, godly men on this earth, those men, at the end of day, were still men and being such were still sinners till the day they died.

It is for this reason that the apostle to the Hebrews, after bringing forth testimony after testimony of faithful witnesses who testified to greatness of the saints’ Inheritance in Christ in Hebrews 11, wrote, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:1,2). For all the godly saints before us were not displayed by the apostle as examples to be followed, but they were brought forth as witnesses to the validity of the example of Christ. Therefore, Christ is to be our only Example, and as such, the examples of men are only good insofar as they accord with the example of Christ.

Therefore when it comes to the matter of dealing with the weak in the church, we who are deemed to be strong must follow the example of Christ. For this reason, we who are strong in the church must not look to please ourselves through our bearing of the weak, for Christ did not please himself, but he came to please others insofar as he was still able to please his Father. And since Christ bore the reproach of those who reproached God, we are also to do as he did and bear with love the weaknesses of the weak in the church.

For this reason, the apostle expresses the wish, “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus (v. 15:5). For if all of us in the church sought to be in accord with Christ alone, then there would be harmony for we would be One in our goal. There would be no “I am of Apollos,” “I am of Paul,” “I am of Calvin,” or “I am of Arminius,” but there would be a singular, “I am of Christ,” and as such we would “with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 15:6).

May we become a people who welcome all as Christ as welcomed us, for the sake of the glory of God (cf. v. 15:7). Amen.



Categories: Fridy Night Bible Study

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1 reply

  1. Indeed, imitating or conforming to another sinner's will (in a matter of moral right and wrong, not a matter of opinion) for the sake of unity is treating the symptom, not the root problem: lack of conformity with Christ.

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