Therefore, welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. (Romans 15:7, ESV)
Whenever I see the word “therefore” in the Bible, I ask, “What is the ‘therefore’ there for?” This word reminds me to look at the context for more understanding. So let’s back up and read what Paul is saying: May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
Paul encourages us to live in harmony with one another. Our harmony results in a beautiful voice that glorifies our God and Father. Part of this harmonious life is welcoming one another as Christ welcomed us. So we ask, “How did Christ welcome us?” He welcomed us with repeated invitations to a relationship with him (e.g., John 10:27, Matt. 11:28) and with his arms spread out on the cross. He welcomed us when he was buried, rose again, and met with his disciples. In other words, Jesus welcomed us through the Gospel.
Here are some hard questions: Do you welcome your enemy, the one who hates you? Do you do it with angry eyes? Or can you do it through the Gospel? The Scripture is clear that we are to welcome others into our lives as Christ has welcomed us. The end result will be that God will be glorified.
Lord, I confess that I am picky about whom I invite into my life. Help me instead to welcome others as Christ has welcomed me…. (Continue praying.)