Christian hope is unique. The certainty of a material future, the new heavens and new earth, and the certainty that in Christ, that’s coming to you, makes Christianity a distinct, life-shaping force. It distinctly shapes the way in which we live in every area of life.
We’re looking now at an area of life that has been a matter of enormous concern to us as a whole world, especially as a society. How do people of different races, cultures, and religions live together in peace?
The Christian hope gives us an enormous resource to use on this problem. In Romans 14, Paul shows us 1) the problem, 2) a false solution, 3) the true solution, and 4) the power to do it.
The passages from Romans 14 and 15 teach us how to live together peacefully, despite our different races, cultures, and religions. The basis of our Christian hope isn’t about what we do, but what Jesus did on the cross. This certainty about God’s promise influences how we interact with each other. Accepting each other as Christ accepted us helps us grow together and brings honor to God.
1. The problem
Paul, in the New Testament, explains that the food rules from the Old Testament aren’t mandatory anymore, showing a change in religious practices. This teaching highlights the need to recognize and understand our differences, as they can shape how we understand Jesus’s message. It’s important to accept these differences, even when it’s hard, to fully grasp the beauty of Jesus and his teachings.
2. A false solution
People often think that being open-minded to all views is good while being narrow-minded is bad. However, Paul’s letters in 1 Corinthians 8 and Romans 14 show that being too open-minded, thinking that all views are right, can lead to disrespect and exclusion. This suggests that trying to achieve peace by accepting all views as truth might not be the real solution, but rather a trap that creates more disputes.
3. The true solution
Paul’s teachings in the Bible offer a different view on tolerance. He emphasizes accepting those with less strong faith and the importance of respectfully disagreeing. This view promotes building deeper relationships through understanding and patience, unlike the world’s way of avoiding disagreements. Hope also plays a big role in these relationships, giving us strength and motivation. It’s crucial when interacting with people who hold different beliefs and come from different backgrounds.