Accept, Instruct and Greet One Another
“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”Paul (Romans 15:7)
I pray each of us takes faithfully and seriously God’s “One Another” commands in Scripture as we continue to fulfill the Greatest Commands…Loving God with all we are, knowing and loving who we are in Christ so that we can love “one another” in all the way that He has expressed, called and commanded us to do.
Building off the somewhat difficult command to stop judging one another (as we closed out last week’s post) we find Paul taking it a step further as he continues to wrap up his letter to the Roman believers. In Romans 15:7, The Holy Spirit, through Paul’s quill, instructs us to “accept one another, just as Christ has accepted you (us).”
You mean I not only have to stop judging those who don’t see and do things exactly as I do…I have to accept those who are different, odd, funny and quirky to me? Yes, just like Christ has accepted them and me in all my quirky, odd, funny and weird ways.
Oswald Chambers states this kind of “One Another” love as follows, “The first thing God does is to knock pretense and the pious pose right out of me. The Holy Spirit reveals that God loved me not because I was lovable, but because it was His nature to do so. “Now,” He says to me, “show the same love to others” — “Love as I have loved you.” “I will bring any number of people about you whom you cannot respect, and you must exhibit My love to them as I have exhibited it to you.”
“Accept one another as I have accepted you.” How are you doing with those whom you find disagreeable, contradictory, negative, pessimistic, unrealistic, abrasive or just down right mean?
May we love and accept others as Christ has done for us so they can know Him.
As we continue with how we are to love “one another” we find Paul charging us, just a few verses later, to “instruct one another” in Romans 15:14.
Not only does this mean that loving others in Christ’s family includes that we are to teach and guide them but that we are to receive instruction and teaching from others as well. We are to be maturing and found competent to both give and receive Godly instruction!
This is a major part of how we grow in Christ and as His Body, The Church. We do this only in the goodness and knowledge of Christ!
In the original Greek the word is also translated as “instruct, admonish, or warn” and Paul states this after telling us to learn to bear with those who are weaker (just as those who are stronger than us do the same for us) by denying self and as we quit living just to please ourselves. This teaching is obviously in line with Christ teaching His disciples (then and now) to die to self, deny self and live for Him and others above self.
WOW! This loving one another thing is tough. Why? Because apart from Christ our flesh is selfish so we can only do each of these “one anothers” consistently and truthfully as we grow in our surrender to Him and His Spirit lives in and empowers us to do so.
How are you doing when it comes to admonishing, warning and instructing others in humility and love? Are you growing and maturing in Christ, The Holy Spirit and His Word to be able to lovingly and truthfully instruct…and receive instructions with discernment and wisdom?
Remember that in all things that we are to speak the truth in love in order that we may grow as disciples and as His Church (Ephesians 4:14-16).
Our last “one another” for today may be difficult to grasp in today’s licentious culture but it is powerful as we see it in the context of God’s Word.
This “one another” is found five times with four of them in Paul’s letters to the Romans (16:16) and in both of the Corinthian letters in Scripture (1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12), his first letter to the Thessalonian church (1 Thessalonians 5:26), and finally, in Peter’s first letter to the churches (5:14)! Each of these confirms that there was a significance in this command that we need to seek more deeply to understand what God is calling us to.
This command is “greet one another with a holy kiss.” It is the same exact phrase in our English language in each of these commands by Paul and Peter…two pillars of our faith and of Christ’s Church (except where Paul to the Thessalonians tells them to greet all the brothers and sisters with a holy kiss).
In our culture this becomes difficult to embrace because of our sexualized, pornified society that may either ignore it or carry it too far. Simply explained, most scholars believe that this command was a form of salutation to do one or both of the following: 1) share a blessing of loving fellowship with each other by passing on the pneuma (breath of life and blessing) in The Spirit, and/or; 2) this kiss represented the symbol and a bonding of family…the Family of Christ!
We must never separate this act of a greeting and affection from the descriptor of “holy,” meaning pure and sacred. Many cultures still practice the literal kiss of some kind and in Christ’s Church it must be rooted in the holiness aspect above all else to express the affection, blessing and encouragement it is meant to share.
Probably the greatest example of this becoming perverted and twisted was in Judas’s kiss of betrayal with Christ, as he greeted Him, in pointing out to the authorities that He was the one they were to arrest (Matthew 26:49; Luke 22:48).
While we may not literally kiss one another, we offer other exchanges that represent this command as we embrace, speak blessings in The Spirit and other cordial connections of fellowship and love. In this way we show each other that we care.
Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – I pray we will take to heart these and all of the “One Anothers” that help us to love in such a way that The Spirit and Love of Christ become more and more evident in and through us. We are all welcome in Christ for He has made it so by His Grace for all who believe in Him!
Love and Lordship…Action Item(s)
- Spend time with Him in His Word and prayer daily – read and study the Scriptures in this post as a way to start
- Ask The Holy Spirit to teach you
- How do you accept others in Christ? How do you accept and share instruction in Him?
In what ways can you step outside your own insecurities and learn in Christ and The Holy Spirit to greet others with Holy and Godly affection?
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