- Lesson 8 in the BaptistWay Press Connect360 unit “Living in the Spirit” focuses on Romans 14:17-19.
Romans 14:17-19 is set in the midst of Paul’s teaching about peace and harmony in the church. Thirty-five verses from Romans 14:1—15:13 are devoted to restoring fellowship and preventing disruptions of fellowship over relatively unimportant matters. The major issue in this section of Scripture was eating meat that had been sacrificed on the altars of pagan worship. Some thought that was sinful, others saw no harm. That difference of opinion grew and manifested itself with each side judging and criticizing the other, resulting in the church getting sidetracked from those matters of greater importance. Christians also lost touch with what it meant to live peaceably and to build up each other. Paul challenged them to “make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification” (Romans 14:19).
Jesus said “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9). That beatitude is truly a mindset that needs to be in our churches. Are you working with the Holy Spirit to practice that beatitude? The Spirit is the common denominator among Christians, but God still allows us the freedom to embrace or minimize what the Holy Spirit endows and wants to create. Sadly, even denominations can ignore the common denominator of God’s Spirit at work in fellow believers. However, James, the brother of Jesus, reveals what can happen when we embrace the Spirit’s leadership: “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness” (James 3:18).
Another aspect of peace is the personal contentment that believers receive. Peace is a gift of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). That will be discussed further in the final lesson in this book. A basic meaning of personal peace is that there is no enmity between God and you. We have peace with God. When we trust Jesus as our Savior and Lord, God accepts us as his children. The God of this universe truly loves us, wants fellowship with us, and rejoices that we are believers. His Spirit is implanted to enable you in the good days and bad.
Sometimes we may think that what we are facing is too great but God has a different opinion. God provides peace and tranquility. As believers, we do not live in Eden or a pain-free world. Don’t forget: God’s “peace giver” never runs out! He sees you through to a better end, not a bitter end. That’s amazing! Is that why Paul called this peace a “peace of God, which transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7)?
Compiled by Stan Granberry, marketing coordinator for BaptistWay Press.
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