49. VALUE YOUR FRIENDS AND BEWARE YOUR FOES

As Paul wraps up his master doctrinal treatise, he names more than twenty people for their contributions. Though they were ordinary people, and though all we know of them is from this one-off recognition, he still sees fit to recognise their contributions to the work of the gospel in the community. So even though it seems like his closing remarks are a mere formality they are anything but.

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45. BE CAREFUL – THAT WAY CAN HURT OTHERS

 When it comes to our Christian liberty i.e. the freedom we have in Christ, it is possible for us to exercise it in a manner that ends up hurting other believers. The potential for this is especially true amongst those of us who are mature believers, by failing to regard those whose faith is weaker than ours. In this passage, Paul reminds us that our liberties must be always have self-imposed limits whose constraints are set by our love for others.

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44. ACCEPT ONE ANOTHER

Regardless of their culture or ethnicity, people generally value being accepted by others. Furthermore, whether it’s a common tattoo or a common song, people go to great lengths to be accepted into a group of likeminded individuals. On the flipside, failure to accept others often has disastrous consequences – from breaking up marriages to all sorts of wars. In all this, if there is any group of people who should be the very epitome of having an attitude of accepting others, it should be believers. After all, since God has accepted us, He is very concerned that we accept others.

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42. DEBT, LOVE, AND THE LAW OF GOD

 

People generally love the idea of being debt free. But going by bank and credit card statistics, we see that debt is a way of life for many people. Of course, this is because of the highly consumerism-driven culture that we live in, where we see people buying what they do not need, in order to make a show of themselves. And that can be sinful. Borrowing is not bad in and of itself. Neither is this text condemning the act of borrowing. So why does Paul use the financial analogy of debt here?

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40. OUR LOVE GOES WIDER

In today’s passage, Paul widens the range of his subject from those who merely annoy us to those who are actively hostile towards us. Sadly these people can often be those who are very near and dear to us - family members, spouses, colleagues, and neighbours to name a few. So, given our Christ-surrendered status, how ought we to respond to such people?

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37. OUR LOVE IN ACTION

While it’s great to get up high for a bird’s eye view of the gospel, it is important and necessary to get up close with the details to understand how things are fleshed out. Likewise, in this passage, verses 1-8 gave us a bird’s eye view of the gospel. But now we come to the details that help to bring those ideas into action. And the first of those details is our love for one another.

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