Outward Grace with Inward Humility: A Great Combination

We both are the Lord’s and, as such, should live to the glory of Christ. Once again, notice how Paul makes his emphasis on both groups. The strong and the weak both live under Christ and are responsible to Christ. Regardless then of which category you belong, you are responsible for your own decisions before God as an in-Christ person living under the lordship of Jesus Christ.

To say that we need to demonstrate grace toward those around us seems like a gross understatement. The world around us desperately needs grace extended to them. They need to know about God’s grace, God’s refuge, and God’s love. Further, the church needs it in equal measure. At times, Christians are no more kinder, no more thoughtful, or no more compassionate than many in the world. However, there should be no greater grace extended toward each other than in both the family of God and the biological family unit. These two places should exude the grace of God from each other to each other. Instead, what we sometimes find is judgement, impatience, and insensitivity. Yet if we hope to do this God’s way, we need to manifest outward grace with inward humility; these two provide a great combination of experiencing God’s grace in your life and passing it on to others as well.

Here is where we begin:

As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions (Romans 14:1).

Welcome the Weak, but do not Quarrel over Opinions

The idea of welcoming the weak is our key to grace. If you happen to be the strong, then you welcome – or show grace toward – the weak. The Apostle Paul is very clear here. Will the weaker person have the maturity of the strong? No. In absence of the spiritual maturity of the strong, the temptation for the stronger person will be twofold. First, there is potential for the strong to judge the weak. Second, in hope of helping the weaker person, the strong will desire to share opinions with the weak. The Apostle Paul continues.

Here are Two Early Church Examples: Food and Holy Days

The Apostle provides us two different examples. However, upon further examination, we see that although the examples are different, the principles are the same. Notice how they parallel each other.

The Subject of Division: Food (vv. 2-4) and Holy Days (vv. 5-6)

Food: One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables.

Holy Days: One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. 

The Principle: Pay attention to your own heart before God, not the other person’s

Food: Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats,…

Holy Days: Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.

The Motivation: The issue is a matter between the person and God

Food: …for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master[a] that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

Holy Days: The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.

In today’s culture, there are many more than just the two examples that Paul mentions. Today, one could add various forms of entertainment, tattoos, alcohol, tobacco, music, dress, sports, politics, and more. These principles apply in all of these areas as well.

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