Sunday, 5 January 2014
Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. Romans 15:2
To edify means to build up. Paul just introduced chapter 15 with a statement that the strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak; not to please themselves. Bearing with the weak is to tolerate their weakness, not find fault in it. Rather than following a course which picks away at their already weak foundation, we are admonished to work with them. And so, speaking to the body of believers, he asks that “each of us please his neighbor for his good.”
A neighbor can be defined in the broader sense of our fellow man, and we should strive for the good toward all men it is true, but based on the context, he is asking us to evaluate our conduct towards our neighbors in Christ. It is to them that we should endeavor to be pleasing in a way which will lead to edification.
The idea is to build up the body, promoting harmony within the faith and to bear the burdens of the weaker without finding fault. The world at large is watching and evaluating Christ based on His servants. It’s true that some profess Christ who aren’t really in Christ, but to weed them out is where right belief and right practice are to be defined. We can’t do this if we don’t know our instruction manual. But by knowing the word and defining the parameters, we can then endeavor to bear with those who are weak within those confines.
Life application: Doctrine does matter. Once we have right doctrine, then we need to accommodate those whose practices are weak within that context. By doing so, we will build up, not tear down, our fellow believers.
Blessed be the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle! Thank You Lord that I am ready to face the day. You have prepared for me the armor of God to defend against the enemy and you have covered my feet with the gospel of peace. I am ready to face this day. Thank You for the chance to serve You. Amen.