LIFE APPLICATION. Paul tells mature Christians in Rome, “Accept your fellow believers just the way they are. Remember, the Messiah did that for you. So do it for others, as a way of honoring God” (Romans 15:7). If Paul said this to you while the two of you were enjoying a cup of coffee on the back porch, what do you think he would say in response?
Perhaps one of the first thoughts that comes to mind would be exceptions to the rule. A notable exception was the man in the church at Corinth who was sleeping with his stepmother. Actually, we can only hope it was his stepmother. Paul described her as the “father’s wife” (1 Corinthians 5:1). Paul ordered the church to show the man the direction to the door.
Author Stephen M. Miller says this quote from Paul reminds him of his favorite definition for “grace.” The quote goes something like this:
“Grace is God accepting us where we are, but not willing to leave us there.”
Maybe that’s a good model for dealing with newcomers to the faith. We don’t try to change them. We accept them the way they are and we let them get to know us the way we are. And we introduce them to other Christians, so they can see who those people are. Hopefully, in time, the newcomers will see Jesus in each one of those people. Then maybe they’ll want to see Jesus in themselves.
Reprinted from Leader’s Guide & Atlas for Romans.