My memory verse for this week:
"Therefore let us stop passing judgement on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way." -- Romans 14:13
NTC Day 15
Mark 1-2 and Romans 13-15
I know there are those who don't like the reading 2 chapters in one book and skipping ahead to read 3 chapters in another book, but I am really seeing the parallels in Jesus' teachings and the words of Paul.
In Mark 2:17 we hear again the words of Jesus saying that he didn't come for the righteous, but for the sinner. My study Bible explains this as a self-righteous man doesn't realize his need for salvation while an admitted sinner does.
The Pharisees were all about "the rules." They worked hard to follow all the rules, tried to make sure that everyone else followed the rules and persecuted those who didn't follow the rules. They didn't worry about their need for salvation, because they were sure they were doing as God wished by following all the rules. What they didn't see is they needed a savior as much as the ones not following the rules.
The Pharisees get a bad wrap throughout the New Testament. They were the rulers and teachers of the Jewish community. Reading it today, it is easy to truly dislike those Pharisees who were trying to trip up Jesus, his disciples and then Paul in later years. We get fed up with their "holier than thou" attitude.
But, reading Paul's own words in Romans 13, we see that those Pharisees were in place to protect the people, even from themselves. They got so hung up on the rules because they thought they were doing what God wanted them to...they thought they were right, even if we can see now that they were doing it in the wrong way. Paul says that we are to submit to the ruling authorities because they are established by God. He says that of course we are to obey God first, but our rulers were put into place by God to protect society. Civil authorities are ordained by God to maintain order. We are to pay taxes, respect and honor our rulers. As Jesus said, give to Caesar what is Caesar's but give God what is God's.
Wow! In Romans, Paul was talking about the Jewish leaders and Roman rulers of the time...but do you think we are to do the same in this day and age? BIG QUESTION!
Many Christians today are conservatives and do not like, respect or show honor to our more liberal President. Many claim he is not a Christian... I have heard Christians making racial slurs against him. I have heard many hateful things about President Obama, and also about most of our other congressman, Senators, governors, etc. IF WE TRULY BELIEVE IN WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS WE ARE TO DO...do you think those actions are how we as Christians are to act?
Yes, I also get fed up with how corrupt it seems our government has become, but if God ordained them to be our civil authorities...we at least owe them respect, even if they don't earn it.
Paul goes on in Romans 14 to state that we are not to judge others. Romans 14:10 says that God will do the judging. While there are bound to be times when we see weaker Christians acting in ways we don't agree with...Paul says we are to keep our thoughts between us and God. (Romans 14:22)
Romans 15:5 wishes for a spirit of unity to be with believers of Christ. While I don't think this means we have to agree on everything, it does mean we are to agree to disagree in LOVE and not judgement.
Through the words of Jesus and the words of Paul, God is trying to teach us how to live a more peaceful existence in this earthly life. I don't think we listen to those words of wisdom enough or put them into practice enough either. Imagine what our world COULD be like if we each judged less, respected each other and LOVED more!!!