Scripture: Romans 15:7, ‘Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.’
Observations: The word the NIV translates as ‘accept’ is the Greek word proslambanō, which is made up of two Greek words, pros meaning ‘towards,’ and lambano meaning receive. Basically is means to receive someone or something towards yourself. It is often used of receiving food to eat (Acts 27:33-36), when Peter took Jesus aside to discuss something privately (Mt 16:22; Mk 8:32), and negatively when the Jews formed a mob in Thessalonica (Acts 17:5). But it’s most common use is to describe taking someone into you home, or into your confidence i.e. to welcome someone (Act 18:6; 28:2; Phlm 17). Just as Christ has accepted us, so we should accept one another. Or another way of looking at it is, just as God has welcomed us in Christ, so we ought to welcome our brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s not on the basis of how good we are that we accept one another, for we are all sinners, rather it is because of grace that we accept others. According to Paul, just as Christ’s acceptance of us brings glory to God, so when we accept one another it results in praise to God. Paul talks about having ‘a spirit of unity (v5)’ and glorifying God with ‘one heart and mouth. (v6)’ For Paul our Christian unity is more than just a theological truth, it is a practical reality that should be seen in our daily lives.
Application: It’s one thing to say we accept one another in Christ, but it’s another to practise it. Do we actually take our brothers and sisters in Christ into our lives? Do we make our fellow brothers and sisters feel welcome in the church? Do we accept them, warts and all, just as Christ accepted us? What can you do to make other people feel they are accepted, that they belong, that they are cared for?
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I know that just as You have accepted me in Christ, not based on my goodness, but based solely on Your grace, so You call me to accept others. Lord, help to accept people even while I don’t accept their sins. Lord, help me to welcome people into my life even when it is hard to do so. Lord, may the unity that I have with my brothers and sisters in Christ be more than just in name, but may it be evident in my daily life. Lord, help me love others as You have loved me, that we may glorify You with one heart and mouth. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.