Directions on how to behave towards the weak. (1-7) All
to receive one another as brethren. (8-13)
Verses 1-7 Christian liberty was allowed, not for our pleasure, but
for the glory of God, and the good of others. We must please our neighbour,
for the good of his soul; not by serving his wicked will, and humouring
him in a sinful way; if we thus seek to please men, we are not the servants
of Christ. Christ's whole life was a self-denying, self-displeasing life.
And he is the most advanced Christian, who is the most conformed to Christ.
Considering his spotless purity and holiness, nothing could be more contrary
to him, than to be made sin and a curse for us, and to have the reproaches
of God fall upon him; the just for the unjust. He bore the guilt of sin,
and the curse for it; we are only called to bear a little of the trouble
of it. He bore the presumptuous sins of the wicked; we are called only
to bear the failings of the weak. And should not we be humble, self-denying,
and ready to consider one another, who are members one of another? The
Scriptures are written for our use and benefit, as much as for those to
whom they were first given. Those are most learned who are most mighty
in the Scriptures. That comfort which springs from the word of God, is
the surest and sweetest, and the greatest stay to hope. The Spirit as a
Comforter, is the earnest of our inheritance. This like-mindedness must
be according to the precept of Christ, according to his pattern and example.
It is the gift of God; and a precious gift it is, for which we must earnestly
seek unto him. Our Divine Master invites his disciples, and encourages
them by showing himself as meek and lowly in spirit. The same disposition
ought to mark the conduct of his servants, especially of the strong towards
the weak. The great end in all our actions must be, that God may be glorified;
nothing more forwards this, than the mutual love and kindness of those
who profess religion. Those that agree in Christ may well agree among themselves.
Verses 8-13 Christ fulfilled the prophecies and promises relating to
the Jews, and the Gentile converts could have no excuse for despising them.
The Gentiles, being brought into the church, are companions in patience
and tribulation. They should praise God. Calling upon all the nations to
praise the Lord, shows that they shall have knowledge of him. We shall
never seek to Christ till we trust in him. And the whole plan of redemption
is suited to reconcile us to one another, as well as to our gracious God,
so that an abiding hope of eternal life, through the sanctifying and comforting
power of the Holy Spirit, may be attained. Our own power will never reach
this; therefore where this hope is, and is abounding, the blessed Spirit
must have all the glory. "All joy and peace;" all sorts of true joy and
peace, so as to suppress doubts and fears, through the powerful working
of the Holy Spirit.