Friday, 22 November 2013
If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Romans 12:18
Unlike other admonitions, Paul begins today with “If it is possible…” This should tell us that this will be a most difficult task to fulfill. A few reasons should be obvious –
1) Not all people want to live peaceably with Christians. They have harmful intent towards them, thus making peace impossible.
2) Doctrine must take precedence over tolerance. The concept of “tolerance” in today’s society is so awry that everyone is offended by everything. The only thing that isn’t tolerated is being intolerant. It is a confused system which asks all individuals to compromise morality. However, Jesus tells us differently. We are never to compromise our morals and we are to stand firm on the biblical truth that there is one and only one way to be reconciled to God. John 14:6 allows no other option. We must hold to the gospel of Christ even if it offends.
3) In a fallen world, peace is not attainable in its truest sense. Trials, stresses, weariness, etc. all effect humanity. These external pressures naturally lead to conflict.
The Christian is asked to live within these difficult circumstances with the intent and goal of living peaceably. And so, in order to establish sound guidelines, Paul adds in the thought, “as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” To the greatest measure the onus is on the believer to effect peace. Sometimes it simply isn’t possible. Even though many within the faith see it otherwise, Paul would never ask a believer to compromise their morals or proper doctrine for the sake of either peace or tolerance.
When either is compromised, the believer becomes an ineffective member of the body and does more harm to the cause than good. However, this is what the liberal arm of Christianity has come to. Don’t be swept up in this, but rather stand first on doctrine and then exercise the peace which Christ has granted you in order to, if at all possible, live peaceably with all men.
Life application: Some things aren’t possible for us in this life, but that doesn’t give us a blank pass to ignore our responsibility to attempt to meet the lofty goals set down for us. It is incumbent on every believer to endeavor to live peaceably with those around us.
Precious Lord Jesus, thank You for the peace I find in You. In a world of toil and strife, I can rest in knowing that I have a future and a hope which will far exceed the trials I face today. Because of this assurance, it gives me even the ability to stand calmly as the storms swirl around me now. I know that whatever happens, it is only temporary, but Your sure promises are eternal. Great stuff Lord! Amen.