Faith and Tolerance  

Posted by on Jun 17, 2022 in Articles | 0 comments

In Romania this summer, I will be teaching a lesson series titled, “Context and Application of Romans”. I chose this topic for two reasons. First, Romans is packed with instructional content that applies to all who seek to please God. Romania is filled with people who want to please God but have never been taught the truth about His will. Second, I have always felt that I have missed something when studying Romans and I wanted an opportunity to sort out the finer details of the scripture. It has truly been one of the most rewarding studies in which I have engaged.

When we think of Romans, faith and grace come to mind and rightly so. But, with a little investigation of the context, we learn that it is a letter addressing intracongregational tolerance, obedience to the faith, and adherence to commands of God as opposed to tradition. The church at Rome was struggling with racial tension. The Jewish Christians were binding the works of the law of Moses upon the Gentile Christians and disapproving of their actions for no reason other than their disdain for breaking tradition.  Paul dedicated the majority of his letter to convincing the Jews that their faith and character traits were of more significance than the works of the old law. Then in chapter 14 he taught the whole congregation about unity, love, and tolerance; giving extra responsibility in the matter to those who were stronger in the faith.

So what can we take away from the book of Romans that is applicable to modern day congregations?

1) Tradition is not the law of God. Faithful obedience to the Word leads to God’s grace. Make sure you are worshiping God, not the traditions of times past (Romans 2 and following)

2) We all have eccentricities and preferences that may clash with others. If it’s not sin, don’t correct it. If you know it’s an issue, don’t do it. Stronger brethren should be willing to sacrifice their liberties for the sake of the weaker (Romans 14).

3) We cannot follow God and sin. If sin leads us away, then sin is our master and we have no hope. We need to be wholly focused on God, not the world (Romans 6).

4) We are free from sin if we are slaves to God because Christ died for us (Romans 6)!

The next time you sit down to examine the book of Romans, give extra consideration to whom Paul is speaking. It makes the application of the letter clear from the writer’s point of view. When taken out of context it opens the doors to several misunderstandings and false teachings. Taken within the proper context, it holds valuable information that guides us toward truth, unity, and salvation!

By Matt Brown

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