Love and Its Consideration.

How do groups of believers who are growing at different rates remain considerate of each other in the body of Christ? This is imperative if we are to display the love of a unified family to a watching world!

Romans 14 can be divided into 4 sections.

People of Consideration (Romans 14:1)
Potential Pitfalls (Romans 14:2-5)
Principles of Consideration (Romans 14:6-12)
Practical Exhortations (Romans 14:13-23)

This week, we will focus on verse 1. In Romans 14:1 and Romans 15:1, Paul tells the "strong" to accept the "weak." The church in Rome is facing a potential challenge, so Paul gives them preventative instruction for the health of the church.

Both groups of people that Paul talks about are born again and growing individually. They are both to remain considerate of each other as they continue to live out the Gospel. If they are living out the principles of Romans 12-13, they will respond favorably to the instruction he gives in this passage.

Believers who Paul calls "weak" are those easily tempted to return to religious traditionalism. They had probably been saved the longest and were a smaller group than the "strong." Because they were faithful and careful Law-abiding Jews before meeting Christ, they may find it hard to accept the fact that "salvation is apart from every work of the law." Though they may grow slowly, they still fight past their personal preferences.

Believers who Paul calls "strong" are the non-religious Gentiles. This was probably a larger group that had not been saved as long. They readily left their pagan past behind and accepted the free Gospel. They realized and embraced that liberty in Christ had freed them from the rules of legalism.

There is room in the church for both groups! Each group has strengths and weaknesses, but all believers share the higher goal of continuing to grow in Christ. "Strong" and "weak" believers must continue to respect the positional righteousness they all have in Jesus Christ. This will preserve harmony and perpetuate Christian fellowship.

Application Points

  • The anchor of non-preferential, considerate, Spirit-filled living in the body of Christ is understanding and holding strongly to the content of the Gospel. Don't forget what we learned in Romans 1-11!
  • When you look at another believer, don't see them primarily as "strong" or "weak." Instead, see them as "in Christ" positionally just as you are. Are they growing? Can you help them grow?

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Colossians 2:1-23 – Paul reminds believers of the sufficiency of Christ.
  • Galatians 1-2 – Some Christians had embraced religious works added to the Gospel.
A Hymn to Encourage: "Beneath the Cross of Jesus"

Beneath the cross of Jesus,
I find a place to stand
And wonder at such mercy
That calls me as I am;
For hands that should discard me
Hold wounds which tell me, "Come."
Beneath the cross of Jesus
My unworthy soul is won.

Beneath the cross of Jesus,
His family is my own –
Once strangers chasing selfish dreams,
Now one through grace alone.
How could I now dishonor
The ones that You have loved?
Beneath the cross of Jesus,
See the children called by God.

Beneath the cross of Jesus,
The path before the crown –
We follow in His footsteps
Where promised hope is found.
How great the joy before us
To be His perfect bride;
Beneath the cross of Jesus,
We will gladly live our lives.