We who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength
Romans 15:1-22 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. 2 Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. 3 For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.” 4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God. 8 For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers, 9 and for the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy; as it is written,
“Therefore I will give praise to You among the Gentiles, And I will sing to Your name.” 10 Again he says, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people.” 11 And again, “Praise the Lord all you Gentiles, And let all the peoples praise Him.”
12 Again Isaiah says,
“There shall come the root of Jesse, And He who arises to rule over the Gentiles, In Him shall the Gentiles hope.”
13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
14 And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another. 15 But I have written very boldly to you on some points so as to remind you again, because of the grace that was given me from God, 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, so that my offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. 17 Therefore in Christ Jesus I have found reason for boasting in things pertaining to God. 18 For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed, 19 in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit; so that from Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. 20 And thus I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, so that I would not build on another man’s foundation; 21 but as it is written, “They who had no news of Him shall see, And they who have not heard shall understand.” 22 For this reason I have often been prevented from coming to you.
In today’s text it says: Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.” For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God. As believers we ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength. This is not that we bear with, tolerate or embrace sin. It is for our neighbor’s good, to his edification. Galatians 6:1-5 says: Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. For each one will bear his own load. I think perhaps the greatest example of one who bore the burden of another might be found in Luke 23:26;33-34: When they led Him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus… When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” Jesus was weakened, in His physical body, from the lashes and the abuse He had endured. Simon bore the physical weight of the cross for a time, but only Jesus could bear the load of the sins of the world; only He could forgive sin and restore sinners to the Father. Like Simon, we are called to bear the burdens of others, but we cannot bear the load of their sin or their suffering. Those people, in their weakness, must be carried to calvary and there, only Jesus can release them from their load. Only He, through the cross, can forgive their sins and restore them to the Father.
We cannot be the savior of another person. Neither though should we be their accuser or condemner. In Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus says: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” We cannot lead others to the narrow gate if we tolerate and embrace their sin. We cannot lead them to the narrow gate if judge and condemn them. We cannot be the narrow gate to them or for them. In John 14:6 Jesus says: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” We can only lead and carry others to Christ at the cross. He alone is the narrow gate. As Acts 4:12 says: There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.