Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves.
If you are a strong believer with maximum doctrine in your soul, you know it. And your knowledge is not arrogance. The self-consciousness of the mature believer is aware of the fact that he/she is strong, that he/she is a mature believer. It is a true, correct evaluation of his/her own life in the light of the Word of God which he/she understands.
The more you advance in the Christian life the greater becomes your responsibility to other believers. You become obligated to the weak or immature believer who is positive toward doctrine. As strong believers, we do not have an obligation toward the weak believer who is negative toward doctrine. Not pleasing ourselves is for the spiritually mature only. It means being so aware of the problems, the difficulties, the heartaches and areas of sensitivity of those around you that you are flexible enough not to offend them.
Avoidance of argumentation, avoidance of refutation or retaliation is what the strong believer must do in bearing the weaknesses of the weak believer. Making an issue of doctrine will assist the weak believer in his/her advance to maturity. While flexibility may appear as a weakness to the weak, it is the strength of the strong to be flexible in the field of non-essentials. The honor and integrity of the strong believer contributes to the spiritual growth and advance of the weak believer who is positive toward doctrine.
Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to his edification.
It doesn’t mean to try to please by simply complimenting someone, to be pleasing in the sense of being a flatterer. It doesn’t mean that you should try to build up everyone in your periphery by finding out something nice about them and saying it. That would be superficial. Weak people need your strength, and your strength comes from impersonal love and knowledge of Bible doctrine.
For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “the reproaches of those who reproached Thee fell upon Me.”
The more you progress in the Christian life the greater becomes your sense of responsibility to those in your periphery. Maturity means occupation with Christ. And replacing the Law of Liberty with the appropriate laws is really not that much of a sacrifice, because you have the privilege of exhibiting impersonal love.
Living to please and accommodate self is arrogance and Jesus Christ was totally free from any form of sin, including the most subtle of all sins: the arrogance factor. Therefore, this verse emphasizes the fact that Christ was totally thoughtful of others. Christ lived on earth to please God the Father, but at the same time to accommodate mankind. All sins in the history of the human race were imputed to one Person only—Jesus Christ. This verse includes a quote from Psalm 69:9.
For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
This verse seems like it teaches an obvious principle – hope for the believer is a result of the knowledge of Bible doctrine, which a person has persevered in learning. Hope is absolute confidence and assurance, which has as its source accurate Bible doctrine.
Now may the God Who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus; that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In the previous verse perseverance and encouragement from the Scriptures is the basis for momentum; now the God of perseverance and encouragement is also mentioned. The God of perseverance and encouragement refers to God Who in grace has provided the very means of advancing in His plan, glorifying Christ and receiving great blessing. But blessing does not come through our talent or anything that we can do. Perseverance is what God demands. It means to be consistently learning and applying Bible doctrine.
Bible doctrine must be transferred from the page of the Word into your soul where perseverance and encouragement become the function of your mental attitude. When it comes to perception of doctrine there is just one virtue: perseverance. The servant is not greater than his master. We are not greater than the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore He expects us to persevere in learning doctrine so that we might have encouragement and comfort from that same doctrine. You cannot have comfort and encouragement from doctrine you do not have in your soul. Encouragement is the result of perseverance in perception of doctrine. Encouragement and comfort become motivation to keep on learning and applying Bible doctrine.
Glorification of God and God’s plan can be accomplished only through the perception and application of Bible doctrine. This requires freedom from interference. This is why we have the honor code. The honor code has something for each stage of spiritual growth. The weak believer who is positive toward doctrine should be applying the principle of the privacy of the priesthood. This principle forbids the weak believer from judging and maligning believers who have advanced beyond him. The strong believer should be applying the policy of impersonal love, which results in flexibility and toleration toward the non-essentials of life. Therefore the objective of the Royal Family Honor Code is to allow each believer the full use of the privacy of his/her priesthood. The objective of the honor code function is to allow believers to advance to maturity and the fulfilment of the plan of God at their own pace without interference. Through the attainment of spiritual maturity, not only is God’s plan fulfilled, but at the same time God is glorified. The function of the honor code, then, is designed to glorify God.
Wherefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.
Every believer is at a different stage of growth in his/her spiritual life. No believer is perfect and we are not to make an issue out of someone else’s sins or failures. The privacy of the priesthood is the basic principle of the Royal Family Honor Code. “Live and let live” means that every believer must have equal opportunity in learning doctrine without hindrance or distraction from another believer. Vacillation and oscillation is weakness, but flexibility from the application of doctrine is great strength. The strongest people in life are those who can bend without breaking. The stronger the believer is, the greater the flexibility in his way of living. Impersonal love emphasizes the subject rather than the object. Therefore, it emphasizes the norms and standards of doctrine in your conscience and the fact that as a mature believer you have flexibility in the non-essentials.
If Christ has received us at salvation with all of our imperfections and weaknesses (and He has), then we can do no less than receive fellow believers regardless of their weaknesses. God is glorified when believers accept one another and thereby demonstrate the principles that Jesus Christ lived and passed to us as Royal Family of God.
We should not be looking for perfect believers with whom to have fellowship. We should be looking for fellowship with those who have positive volition toward Bible doctrine and who are advancing to maturity.
Biblical Christian fellowship is not what most Christians believe it to be. Sharing pot-luck dinners, sitting around a warm fire praying or singing songs, going on retreats or any other social function is not Biblical fellowship. Biblical fellowship of believers is sharing a common faith with one another, meeting together to listen to the accurate teaching of God’s Word, sharing the communion table or praying proper Biblical prayers together in a local church.