Romans 15:1-6 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. NKJV
Paul throughout chapter 14 of Romans admonished or warned the Christians in Rome and all Christians of every generation to be diligent and careful not to exercise liberty in Christ that would cause another brother or sister in Christ whose faith is weak a bruised conscience. Paul wants us to express our liberty in Christ in such a way as to not pass judgment on others who may not hold our same opinions in non-essential matters of our faith in Christ. If love for our brothers and sisters is truly evident, then we will want to so live our lives before them in a manner to build them up and not tear them down. Paul knew that depending on what the normal, standard, and constant practice of a person or soul before receiving Christ that it would still in many cases cause a soul problems, even after their sins were forgiven and they were born again.
Paul saw that manifested in the life of many Jews, even the Apostle Peter, when it came to eating certain foods and being free to observe Jewish feast days and Sabbaths or to abstain from observing them because of our liberty and freedom in Christ. Paul certainly in writing this would not consider the Apostle Peter as one weak in the faith, but being reminded of his confrontation with Peter over the liberty in Christ for any Jew coming to Christ having freedom to eat any food was foundational in his ability to understand the brother or sister weak in faith coming out of paganism and also Judaism. Here is what Paul documented for us of this confrontation with Peter, Barnabas, and other Jews on this matter of requiring Gentiles to live according to Jewish ceremonial laws that they knew nothing about, Galatians 2:11-14 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?” NKJV
I use this confrontation between these two Apostles to show that even the Apostle Peter that we today consider a pillar in the faith and a mighty man of God during this occasion documented by Paul above in Galatians 2 was exemplifying weak faith because he as Paul put it “feared the party of the circumcision” and in so doing manifested weak faith at that moment. Therefore, Paul is writing to these Christians in Rome and to everyone that would read his epistle or letter that the strong in faith are obligated to “bear the infirmities of the weak.” Paul uses the English word bear and it is translated from the Greek word bastazo which means to lift or take up or to carry (through the idea of removal). The English word infirmities Paul uses here is from the Greek word asthenema which means an infirmity of error arising from weakness of mind or a scruple (uneasiness about the fitness of an action; an ethical or moral principle that inhibits action) of conscience. Unlike the liberal interpreter of Scripture who says God is Love so let us sin as we please for grace will cover it, Paul is here clearly telling all of the members of Christ Mystical Body who are strong (morally strong) in faith and strong in the Word of God to shoulder, strengthen, and steer the weak faith Christian who may be struggling and in error because of weakness in their mind and with discerning the truth of the will of God (God’s Word) into the light of the truth which is the Word of God only (John 17:17).
Paul declares that those strong (morally strong) in faith and in the Word of God, for as it is written, Romans 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” KJV should desire to remove the weakness or infirmity or scruple of conscience from the weak in faith sister or brother in Christ for their individual good and for the collective good of Christ Entire Mystical Body and for His Glory, as Paul declared with these words, 1 Corinthians 12:20-27 But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. NKJV Our Lord Jesus Himself is our example as always in every matter and likewise in this one because He took upon and into Himself our sin so that we are now able to approach God the Father humbly, but without fear of condemnation or rejection from Him. Paul quotes the Messianic Psalm 69:9 which speaks of our Lord Jesus Christ bearing the filthy sins that disgraced, offended, insulted, reviled, and hurt God the Father, He took upon Himself and in Himself to kill, destroy, and put away once and for all (Romans 8:3 & Hebrews 9:24-28).
Finally, Paul prays that the Christians in Rome (remember Paul never met them in person yet at the time of this letter) and us today may with only “one mind” or unanimously with “one voice” glorify God or as the Greek word doxazo is written here in the present active subjunctive (a mood that represents an act or state) which literally means “that you may keep on glorifying God” in this manner with the same mind, as our Lord Jesus Himself prayed to God the Father with these words, John 17:13-26 “But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” NKJV
“Love may forgive all infirmities and love still in spite of them: but Love cannot cease to will their removal.” C. S. Lewis
“We are to bear with those we cannot amend, and to be content with offering them to God. This is true resignation. And since He has borne our infirmities, we may well bear those of each other for His sake.” John Wesley
“As the strongest faith may be shaken, so the weakest, where truth is, is so far rooted that it will prevail. Weakness with watchfulness will stand, when strength with too much confidence fails. Weakness, with acknowledgment of it, is the fittest seat and subject for God to perfect His strength in; for consciousness of our infirmities drives us out of ourselves to Him in whom our strength lies.” Richard Sibbes
“You are not mature if you have a high esteem of yourself. He who boasts in himself is but a babe in Christ, if indeed he be in Christ at all. Young Christians may think much of themselves. Growing Christians think themselves nothing. Mature Christians know that they are less than nothing. The more holy we are, the more we mourn our infirmities, and the humbler is our estimate of ourselves.” Charles H. Spurgeon
“If you truly love the brethren (men and women) Christ has redeemed by His Precious Blood, then you will desire them to be strong morally and say and do all within your power to lift them up into that realm, always being mindful of your own weakness as Paul declared in Galatians 6:1-2.” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…