How we handle our differences within the body of Christ in those “gray areas” dealt with in Romans 14 is a critical part in maintaining the spiritual health of the church family. We see in Romans 15 that Paul wrote to a body of Jewish and Gentile believers who were divided on issues that were very important to them, and he exhorted them to soften the rhetoric and receive one another (Romans 15:7).
Our flesh by nature judges one another (Romans 2:1-3), and in the process, we end up imploding and devouring one another (Galatians 5:15). With amazing faith in the power of God’s Spirit to settle this issue, Paul exhorts them to be likeminded, in spite of not seeing eye to eye on these non-sin convictions (Romans 15:5-6). Then, in typical Pauline fashion, he speaks of how God’s mercy and glory ought to cause us to break forth with singing, rejoicing and praise (Romans 15:9-11). This teaches us that whenever we find ourselves “caught up” in doctrinal disputes or convictions that may be a cause of offense to others in the body, the thing to do is go before The Lord, ask Him to search our heart (Psalm 139:23-24), and begin to praise Him for Who He is and for what He has done for us through Jesus Christ (Revelation 5:5-10).
In this effort to “clear the air” in Rome, we find some of the attributes of God mentioned: His patience and consolation (Romans 15:5), His mercy (Romans 15:9), and hope (Romans 15:13). So let us filter all of our differences through the lens of the character of God, not the acts of the flesh.