The Greater Family

MEMORY SELECTION: “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification.” —Romans 15:1,2

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Galatians 6:1-10

IN A few verses preceding our memory selection the Apostle Paul had been endeavoring to solve a problem that was then of paramount importance to the church at Rome. The problem was whether or not it was proper to eat meat sacrificed to idols. The Apostle Paul’s conclusion is that he is free from superstition and fear, for he is “persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but,” on the other hand, “to him that esteemeth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.” (Rom. 14:14) Therefore the apostle concludes that those who are untroubled should not impose their liberty on another whose conscience is troubled. We should be more than willing to abstain from eating such meat rather than stumble a brother. “It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.”—Rom. 14:21

Then, in the next chapter, continues, “We then that am strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification.”

The apostle then continues his lesson, emphasizing the fact that the Christian life is dominated by an attitude of selflessness. In this we have the example of our Lord, of whom it was written, “The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.” (Rom. 15:3) In other words, Jesus was not interested in vindicating himself; but rather, because he was so much at one with the Father in purpose, aims, ambitions, and desires, he willingly accepted the reproaches as being rightfully part of his burden. And so with the family of God. The will and attitude of each member should be so absorbed and in harmony with the will and purposes of the Heavenly Father that all the members might unitedly with one voice “glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”—vs. 6

This attitude for the Jewish Christians was a comparatively easy state of mind to attain to because they were brethren in the sense of having a common heritage. Even Jesus himself was a Jew and had come to them in fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.—Gen. 22:15-18; Gal. 3:16

This proper Christian attitude of unity and selflessness did not in all cases extend toward the Gentiles who were calling upon the name of the Lord in increasing numbers. To counteract the wrong attitude, the apostle brings to the attention of the Jewish brethren the fact that this condition had been foretold by the prophets in promises made to the fathers. (Rom. 15:9-12) Therefore, because this arrangement was obviously of God, he urges all to believe and to unite, whether they be Jew or Gentile, that they “may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit.”—vs. 13

Then to conclude the matter, the apostle, in verses 15-18, brings to the brethren’s attention the fact that he was commissioned to be the apostle to the Gentiles. “That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the Gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Spirit.”

The apostle elaborates further in Ephesians 2:11-15: “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and bath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace.”

In other words, the Apostle Paul as an instrument of the Heavenly Father was preaching to the Gentiles the same Gospel and offering the same privileges in Christ as were being offered to the Jews, and so the greater family of God during this Gospel Age includes both Jews and Gentiles.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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