The Kingdom Comes to the Caring
The Kingdom was Jesus’ favorite topic, from the start of his ministry (Matt 4:12, 17) until the end (Acts 1:3). Yet is seems ironic that the number one evangelist of the early church, the Apostle Paul, so seldom talked about the kingdom himself…instead focusing on justification by faith (Eph 2:8-9). But when Paul did speak on the subject, he was insightful indeed giving us one of the best summaries of what it means to be a Christian in the Kingdom (Rom 14:17-18).
The context of this passage revolves around a pernicious problem facing the early church… what do you do with meat that has been offered to idols? Meat offered to idols were sold at discounted prices, but was that meat demonized in some way? Was it off limits for believers?
Paul’s resolution was mutual acceptance (Rom 14:1-3) and non-judgmentalism as we will have to give an account of our own behavior to God (Rom 14:10-12). What we need to do is stop pressing each other’s hot buttons or placing stumbling blocks in each other’s paths (Rom 14:13-14).
Back in the 70’s the Youngbloods sang:
You hold the key to love and fear / All in your trembling hand
Just one key unlocks them both / It’s there at your command
I think Paul (and certainly John) would concur (1 Jn 4:18). Perfect love does drive out fear…
Come on people now / Smile on your brother
Everybody get together / Try to love one another / Right now