A gracEmail subscriber writes: “I am concerned that people who claim to follow Jesus Christ do not understand the Bible alike on many topics. Are we right and others wrong, or vice-versa? Whoever is wrong cannot be saved.”
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Believers in the first-century Roman house-churches sharply disagreed concerning vegetarianism (illustrative of issues of personal piety) and the observance or non-observance of special days (illustrative of issues of congregational practice). Paul does not simply take sides in these issues. Instead, he points to three fundamental gospel truths which all Christians believe. Those truths are that Jesus died, that he rose, and that he is coming again. These three truths remind us in turn of three truths about Jesus himself. And those truths about Jesus Christ determine how we believers ought to relate to Christ and to each other when they honestly disagree about how best to please the Lord.
Jesus DIED for us, Paul says first — and he is therefore our SAVIOR. He can (and will) save all who trust in him, no matter which opinions they reach on the matters about which believers in Christ will honestly differ. Second, Jesus ROSE for us — and he is therefore our LORD. Each true believer must try to please him as best one knows and is able at any time. Third, Jesus is COMING for us — and he will be our JUDGE. We must live each day knowing we will give account to him. We must also leave the judging of others to him and not try to do it ourselves. “Who are you that judges another man’s servant?” Paul asks. “To his own master he stands or falls.”
The good news is that God “is able to make [the person] stand” who is wrong in his doctrinal conclusions but who is trusting in Jesus Christ for salvation. That is the only hope any of us has, since not one of us has figured out the truth on every subject and none of us ever will on this earth. Any religious system which speaks otherwise is contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ and ought to be rejected.