There are four Greek words that in English we simply translate “love”. Two are in this passage: “Be sincere in your love for others” and “love each other as brothers and sisters”. The first is agape which is unconditional love (the love God has for us), and the second is philia (where we get “Philadelphia”) which is brotherly love.Read More
Followers of Jesus will have a reputation for being peaceful, good citizens, good neighbours, and respected in their community. It is not disrespectful or unnecessarily disruptive to live within the parameters of the law. For instance, in my country a good citizen is free to: protest peacefully, vote, write editorials, run for government, etc. A follower of Jesus will be a good citizen.Read More community, good citizens, leaders
Paul here underlines Jesus’ teaching on the Old Testament law. Jesus did not negate the old law, he fulfilled it. He helps us understand it.
For Jesus it was about pathways. For instance, he said, “But I tell you that if you look at another woman and want her, you are already unfaithful in your thoughts” (Matthew 5:28). Implicit here is the path: lust in your heart, imagine, fantasize, flirt, act on the impulse… Jesus says, “Stay off the path.”Read More law, love, paths, wake up
Today, as then, many people turn up their noses at our faith. “It’s a hang-up,” they say. “It’s self-deception. You imagine all kinds of ‘answers to prayer’ in what are really coincidences. You have feelings you think come from God, but really they’re auto-suggestion!”Read More criticism, faith, suffering
Have you ever been warned about something, did it anyways, and paid the consequences? Maybe it was ordering “spicy” at a restaurant when your friend told you to go for “medium” or better yet “mild” at this particular place. After the initial pain, did you join your friend in laughing at your refusal to heed the warning?Read More advice, tough talk, wisdom
There is a right answer: “Some think it is all right to eat anything, while those whose faith is weak will eat only vegetables” (v 1). Clearly the strong in the faith “eat anything” and the weak in the faith don’t. Paul makes it clear that there is a right answer to whether a Christian can only eat certain foods or worship on certain days, dress a certain way …Read More criticism, dogmatic, maturity
Yesterday we read about Paul acting as spiritual father to the church in Rome: “Stop fighting!” In today’s passage he has not left the issue, but the focus has shifted slightly. He is most concerned with our responsibility to each other. In fact in this section the onus is on the “strong” in the faith to not “hurt” the “weak”.Read More appetite, other people, selfishness