Thursday, 9 January 2014
…that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:6
The previous verse asked us “to be like-minded toward one another.” And in the completion of the thought, the reason is given to us in verse 6. The ultimate goal of our lives and conduct should be directed to the glorification of God. The first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks and answers as follows –
What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
Man’s chief end is truly to glorify God, but how can we do this when there is divisiveness, backbiting, and finger-pointing over matters in which He has allowed us the freedom to choose. In the Bible are many directives we are asked to obey. These are given by God, both for our good and for His glory. When we fail in these things, we fail to glorify Him. And so learning doctrine and applying it to our lives has the end goal of glorifying Him. And those issues which are not prescribed and have been left up to us to decide on are matters which will allow us to glorify Him through our freedom to express them as we wish.
And so, considering it from that perspective, how can we glorify God with a freedom we have been granted if it is turned into a mandate? We cannot. If one can think through such issues from this perspective, we can see how destructive legalism is. It is a system which actually denies God the glory He is due. This is why, “with one mind and one mouth” we should glorify God, not with the imposition of pet peeves on others, but with gratitude for the liberties He has granted us and obedience to the things He has directed us. In so doing, we will “glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Our family relationship in Christ is seen in a tender and beautiful way in Paul’s statement here. God the Father accepted Christ and His death on our behalf, proving it in the resurrection. When we are found in Christ, we then are found to be children of God. As God’s children, just like the children of any family, we honor our parent through obedience, but we also honor our parent through family love and harmony. When divisiveness rears its ugly head in a family, it reflects negatively on the parents; how much more so when divisiveness is a prominent feature of the church of God’s people!
Life application: Paul is in no way compromising doctrine in his writings during Romans 14 and 15; he is upholding doctrine. But he is also showing us that those issues which are left unstated must be considered as freedoms for us to enjoy without divisiveness and in-fighting.
O God, how long shall I wait on You and remain faithful to You? I will never stop waiting and I will never give up my faith! Even if enemies surround me or sickness eats away at me I will remain steadfast in You and in Your promises. Only Jesus prevailed over the grave, so why would I put my hope in anything else. My debt is paid, my future is secure. I will wait on the Lord. Amen.