Why receive you one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.…
The apostle tries further to heal any existing differences between the various sections of the Christian community at Rome, and still further to enforce the duties of charity, self-denial, and mutual helpfulness, by reminding them of how much they have in common. This is the true method of uniting Christians. Some Christians think they will succeed in bringing others to their view of the truth by exposing the errors of those who differ from them. Consequently, we have bitter controversies between the various denominations, because Christians will persist in emphasizing the points on which they differ, rather than the points - often far more numerous and more important - on which they . agree. To draw nearer to Christ, and to draw one another nearer to Christ, this is the true eirenicon.
I. THEIR MUTUAL RELATIONSHIP TO CHRIST. "Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us" (ver. 7). Both have been received by Christ: why not, then, by one another? Why should our views of Episcopacy or Presbytery, Calvinism or Arminianism, interfere with our relationship as brethren in Christ? St. Paul shows that both Jews and Gentiles have a direct personal interest in Christ and relationship to him. "Jesus Christ was a Minister of the circumcision" (ver. 8). Therefore the Jew should not look upon Jesus of Nazareth as an alien, but as his kinsman according to the flesh. He came not to destroy the Law, but to fulfil. But because he is a Jew, he is not, therefore, without an interest in the Gentiles. The apostle shows how even the Jewish writings looked forward to an incorporation of the Gentiles with the people of God, and to their sharing the blessings which the Messiah was to confer (vers. 10-12). "In him shall the Gentiles trust." How precious, then, should be the Name of Jesus to all the children of humanity! How the universal brotherhood of Christians is here enforced!
II. THEIR MUTUAL RELATIONSHIP TO THE GOSPEL, Not only was it predicted that both Jews and Gentiles would be joint partakers in the benefits of the Messiah's kingdom, but in actual fact the gospel has come to both. St. Paul, who was himself a Jew, experienced the blessings of the gospel. He, in his turn, communicated those blessings to the Gentiles. He was "the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God" (ver. 16). Truly, the gospel is a great reconciler. How it breaks down the prejudices of race and class and caste! Let the gospel only become a real, living power in our own heart and life, and we shall go forth, like St. Paul, to share its blessings with others, winning them by a spirit of love, no matter what our prejudices against them may have been.
III. THEIR DUTY OF MUTUAL HELPFULNESS. At the time of writing this Epistle St. Paul was on an errand which gave practical proof of the mutual sympathy between Gentile and Jewish Christians. He was on his way to Jerusalem (ver. 25). He was taking with him a contribution which the Gentile Christians of Macedonia and Achaia had made for their Jewish brethren at Jerusalem, who at this time were in poverty (ver. 26). He takes the occasion to say that this act of generosity, cheerfully performed, was indeed a Christian duty. For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things" (vet, 27). Here is a reason for missionary efforts among the Jews. They have been the channel through which blessings have flowed to us: shall we not be the channel through which the blessings of the gospel shall flow to them? Here is a reason for the support of the Christian ministry. It is wise and prudent that those who are to be teachers and preachers of the Word, and pastors of the flock, should devote themselves to that work only. How, then, are they to be supported? By the generosity of those to whom they minister. If the latter are "partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things." Such mutual helpfulness all Christians ought to cultivate towards one another. - C.H.I.
Parallel VersesKJV: Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.