Accept One Another (revised)
The Fellowship of Family
Romans 15:7 (NIV)
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
When it comes to acceptance, most of us are willing to go along… up to a point… within reason. That’s where the problem comes in, and what a problem it is. It becomes a question of our reason over "His Will"... not something I'd want to explain come judgment day. With every different individual comes a different standard. We only go along with what works for us, and then what works at the moment for the particular given situation. In reality we change our standard as it’s convenient. Where this may seem to be a doable strategy, it has as its starting point a selfish basis. Here, acceptance is attached to our given need at the moment.
When you think more about your own needs just how accepting are you really being?
When we place ourselves as the center of focus, we create barriers and erect walls that disqualify and exclude others around us. Our mindset is with keeping others out who don’t meet with the conditions we set. Now I’ll admit that in our fallen state we can’t help but to set some limits, but we still approach the situation with a flawed point of view. While we create reasons to exclude others, God’s method sought ways to include us and bring us closer to His presence.
The Divine Nature
Deut. 11:21 (NIV)
so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.
From the very beginning it was the nature of God to give. At first He gave thought to having a loving relationship that involved another being, (man) that was separate and apart from Himself. God gave life to that being and mankind was created. God’s giving didn’t stop there, He continued by showing concern and attention to the needs of His creation. All of this giving is in spite of the rejection, the rebellion, and the disobedience shown Him by the very being that He is so giving toward. The type of giving undertaken by God is all toward the inclusion of mankind in fellowship. The effort of Our Heavenly Father seeks ways to draw us closer to His presence. In contrast to the methods of man, “Godly Acceptance” doesn’t create obstacles, it works to remove them. God’s method not only benefits man but also ensures harmony throughout all creation… it’s the essence of His “Devine Nature.”
Romans 8:19-21 (NIV)
The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
The Image and Likeness of God
Death Through Adam, Life Through Christ
Romans 5:12 (NIV)
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned—
Grace and Mercy
Being created in the image and likeness of God gave us the ability to do as He did; to give from the heart lovingly. At the start, we were His children, accepted as part of His family. That ability was damaged with the introduction of sin. Adams’ choice renounced that acceptance, placing him and the rest of mankind after him, outside the fellowship. A review of the circumstances involved as described in Genesis 3 shows that the decision didn’t affect man alone but carried implications for all of creation as well. God, even then, showed His acceptance by extending grace toward mankind. The serpent and the land, (creation) were cursed… notice that Adam and Eve were not. Humanity was assisted with the extension of mercy. Even when we choose to reflect a Godly character, we still need help. Without that help we would have forever been condemned to pay the price for sin. Fortunately for us, God did for us what we couldn’t do on our own… He gave us Christ who accepted death that we might live.
John 3:16-18 (NIV) "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.
The Children of God and the Brothers of Christ
Romans 8:15-17 (NIV) For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Those of us who have accepted Christ as the Son of God have also been accepted as heirs and brothers of Christ in God’s family. We are His children once again, with all the rights given to members in that family. Yes Our Father is still giving and wants to give even more. However, being included in God’s family carries for us the obligation to honor Our Father through the example of Christ our perfect brother. Our appreciation, our praise and our obedience is displayed in continuing in the manner of acceptance of one another just as we were accepted by God and Christ. After all, the spirit of fear has been removed. There is no longer any reason to exclude others from the family; instead it should be our desire to bring them closer to the presence of Our Father through the fellowship of Christ.
Yes we may suffer some hardship and displeasure in doing so, but didn’t Christ suffer the cross? Think of these words the next time you’re not accepting and find reason to complain…
Matthew 25:45 (NIV) "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'