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About Doctrines

In One Accord



What does it mean to cling to what is good and to abhor evil? We all have our own practical examples of these concepts. If we cling to what is good, we will treat each other with the love of good. We will exercise the love of Jesus. Jesus told His disciples that love was to be the seal, sign, and trademark of those who follow Christ.

John 13:34-35
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. NKJV

Here, the showing of hospitality is one of Paul’s specific examples of presenting this love. The "one another" must be taken, in this context, to mean those members of the church at Rome, the recipients of this letter. The Christian community is called upon to demonstrate to the entire world their walk with Jesus by an ongoing outpouring of love. How much more specifically should this love be shown to the members of our Christian family. How often do we fail at this task?

Hospitality meant much more in the days of Christ than it may mean today. Most Christians were not rich. Holiday Inns were not abundant. The early church was called upon to open its doors and dinner tables to fellow Christians -- to all fellow Christians, not just those who might be perceived as important, like Paul.

There was a great deal of sharing in the early church. Not just an occasional room and bed, but people reached out to each other whenever someone was in need. This sharing and togetherness is reflected in a single Greek word, homothumadon, translated as with one accord. The word occurs eleven times in Acts (1:14; 2:1, 46; 4:24: 5:12; 7:57; 8:6; 12:20; 15:25; 18:12; 19:29). While it does not relate to the Christian community in every instant (19:29), it is a word that clearly reflects unity of thought and action of a group. Paul uses this word in Romans 15:6, where it is translated with one mind. This is the thought expressed in this current verse. The Christian community is to show hospitality one to another in the same frame of mind of love as God has shown to us.

The verse points us to a second concept presented by Jesus, one finding its roots in love. Commentators are not in agreement over the phrase in honor giving preference but it seems perfectly clear to me. Jesus tells us "just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many" (Matt 20:28). The picture of this servanthood is found in John 13 with the washing of the Apostles' feet.

John 13:13-17
13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. NKJV

This is a great lesson that we frequently stumble over. How can we be servants of others, especially those we dislike or view as being different? The answer is we must do this in fulfillment of our obligations to love God with all of our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. When we do this, we will strive to place others first. We will give others "honor" and "preference" when we remember this teaching of Christ's. This is the true exercise of love. This is the true means of following the example of Christ.

In fact, the previous phrase gives a simple explanation of this passage. "Brotherly love" is a compound word build upon philo. The word looks to family relations, even in its secular usage. What greater family relations could exist for a believer than the family of God!

I always am reminded of Paul’s words to the Corinthians when I read this passage. A true heart for God is one that desires to make help everyone find God and learn how to live properly. In Romans this attitude is reflected in Paul’s opening description of himself as a bondservant of Jesus Christ (1:1). Elsewhere he calls himself a “prisoner” of Christ’s (Philemon 1:1, 9). Paul is bound in Jesus for all he does or undertakes or accomplishes.

1 Corinthians 9:14-23
14 Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel. 15 But I have used none of these things, nor have I written these things that it should be done so to me; for it would be better for me to die than that anyone should make my boasting void. 16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a stewardship. 18 What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel. 19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 Now this I do for the gospel's sake, that I may be partaker of it with you. NKJV

Paul's motives are in v23. Paul does all for the Gospel's sake. Aren’t we to do the same?

What the Apostle is attempting to get across in the application section of Romans (chapters 12-15) are some of the practical things we do for the Gospel’s sake. We show hospitality and love. We fight hate evil. We love good. We place others before ourselves. We are diligent in these actions, full of passion and on fire for Jesus. There are several different Greek words translated as "fervent." The one used by Paul in this verse is one used of heating water to the boiling point. We are to boil with heat in our passion for Jesus. We do it all for the sake of the Gospel, serving the Lord. It is all for God’s glory!

 

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