The church at Corinth was struggling with quarrels and disputes among its members. Some people were Jewish in background, others were Gentile. People had varying beliefs which stemmed from their history, customs and traditions. Some had celebrated the Lord’s Day on Saturday, others worshipped on a different day. Some ate food that others were not permitted to eat. Customs and preferences became issues of dispute despite the fact that all had experienced salvation through Jesus Christ. Paul points them back to the one essential belief and foundation of their faith. Paul instructs them to be accepting of one another as brothers and sisters in Christ who have all experienced God’s grace—the great unifying factor!
1 Cor 1:11-12, 3:11, 15:1-4; Rev 7:9-10; Rom 14:1-3, 6, 13, 15:7; Phil 1:6
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ. (1 Cor 3:11) Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. (Rom 14:13).
We all have beliefs about many things…faith, politics, health, fitness, music, worship, sports teams, etc. Some are essential, some are convictions, and some are preferences. As Christians we need to be constantly reminded of the foundation upon which we all stand—salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. This is the essential belief we share and should remain central to our mission. We are not called to impose our convictions and preferences on other believers. We are called to accept them. What we share in belief is far greater than our differences. If you have a different opinion than a Christian brother or sister, ask yourself, “Is this a salvation issue?” If it’s not, then accept the fact that it’s ok for you to believe differently without either of you being right or wrong.
Identify a few beliefs that other Christians have which you find offensive? What are some beliefs that you have that other Christians find offensive? We don’t argue over whether or not to eat meat, but what are some things Christians argue about? Can you identify a Scripture that people interpret differently, but it’s not a salvation issue? Why do so many people go from church to church to church and never find a church home and sometimes just stay home?
Make an effort to find common ground with a Christ-follower who does faith differently than you. Maybe you see them as radical in some way. Try to understand where they are coming from and work to have an open dialogue with them that shows interest and not condemnation.
Dear God, thank you for the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. Help me to accept all of your children though they have different convictions and preferences than I do. May I always look at what we share, the foundation of our Christian faith—Jesus Christ. In whose holy name I pray, Amen.