the weblog of Alan Knox

Accepting others glorifies God

Posted by on Feb 3, 2010 in discipleship, scripture, unity | 2 comments

I thought the quote below goes along well with some of my previous posts about accepting one another (even when and especially when our beliefs differ). First, the author is commenting on this passage:

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome (accept) one another as Christ has welcomed (accepted) you, for the glory of God. (Romans 15:5-7 ESV)

Here are the comments:

There is a purpose in this unity. Paul prays that with one heart and mouth his correspondents may glorify God. There were certainly tensions in the Roman church, and the presupposition that the strong and the weak were having some difficulty in getting along with each other underlies the whole section of the letter. But when the church gives itself over to glorifying God there is a deep and satisfying unity. That is what Paul looks for….

Accept one another is surely addressed to the whole community…. The verb rendered accept means wholehearted acceptance…. Just as Christ accepted us, we are to accept other believers. When we are to accept one another, are we to say that we will not take him as a Christian brother? Our attitude to others must flow from the transformation wrought in us by Christ…. His point is that all are to accept those who differ from them. This follows well on Paul’s prayer, for “Nothing glorifies God as much as the unity of His children, which alone is in harmony with His essential will of love” (Leenhardt). And it leads well into what follows, for Paul sees the purpose of Christ’s accepting them as “the glory of God”. God’s glory was promoted when Christ received us sinners, and it is further advanced when we who are by nature sinners and wrapped up in our own concerns instead receive our brothers in Christ with warmth and love. (Leon Morris, The Epistle to the Romans (Pillar New Testament Commentary; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988), p. 502-3) (italics in original)

By the way, did you notice that accepting one another in spite of differing beliefs requires the encouragement and endurance that God provides?

So, if accepting one another (even when our beliefs are different) as brothers and sisters (not distant cousins) brings glory to God, what does refusal to accept one another do?


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  1. 2-4-2010

    Hey Alan,

    The last few posts you’ve been talking about accepting others with different beliefs, and I commend your tolerance and desire for unity. Are there any boundaries for this tolerance (I know you think so)? What are they, biblically speaking?

    That is, what specific issues should we refuse to polarize on for the sake of unity, and which issues must result in some kind of separation? And is physical separation always disunity?

    I feel like we’re only getting half of your thoughts, and we want all of them! 🙂


  2. 2-4-2010


    Thanks for the question. I would say that we find several reasons in Scripture for separating from another person who claims to be a brother or sister in Christ: 1) teaching contrary to the gospel, 2) unrepentant sin, 3) disorderliness/divisiveness, and 4) refusal to work.

    Do you know of other reasons?