“If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.” vs. 8
Living together in harmony with our brothers and sisters in the community of faith is harder than we might expect…and Paul knew this from experience. Wherever he went he was embroiled in controversy for one reason or another. But he couldn’t simply say “that’s just the way it is” without pushing to change the culture. He tells the Romans clearly that they have to learn to get along with each other, even if they have serious disagreements. His argument for harmony begins by recognizing that all of us, both the living and the dead, belong to the Lord…and that is our primary identity. We really are brothers and sisters in Christ…and it is Christ’s intention that we live together in perfect unity. It follows then, that our incessant bickering and squabbling not only destroys relationships, but is an affront to Christ. The problem is that sometimes we have such a clear conviction that our opinions or ideas are right that we can’t even imagine how someone could hold another position! In those moments we can become angry…and it becomes easier to withdraw from fellowship than continue to hang around with idiots. It’s at this point we face our biggest challenge. Anyone can have harmony with those they agree with…but those who are in Christ can even love their enemies!
Thought for the Day: When is it proper to withdraw from fellowship?