Earlier Paul has shown the church as it should be and is now, explaining how we must live in order to be as God wants us to be. Christian living, that is living in accordance with the commands of the Gospel are not optional...not something I can or cannot do and still be a Christian, rather they come with the agreement to be a Christian. Now I may claim to be a Christian, to serve the Lord, but as long as I live in my own selfish way with little regard for the Lord and His church, I am deceiving myself.
Paul mentioned that I must “walk worthy of the calling with which you were called.” Also that I must walk humbly; that I must walk meekly; that I must walk patiently. And then the next thing mentioned I must walk “bearing with one another in love.”(NKJV) And Phillips New Testament in Modern English says, “Making allowances for one another because you love one another.”
Now it is true that the stabilizing force is the idea of love...the reason for our patience, or forbearance or longsuffering, that we extend to others or the allowances that we make for others because we love each other. Now obviously this isn’t emotional love. Obviously some are more lovable than others... some even more likable than others. And it is going to be far easier to love some and be patient or long suffering than with some others.
But one of the commandments that is essential to Christian living is loving others. That means that within the limits of the will of God, I’m going to do what I can to make them happy and please them. Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” And Romans 14:17 shows us plainly that in matters of opinion we have the ultimate liberty; you have the right to your opinion and I have the right to mine .... except if my opinion causes you to stumble or becomes an offense to you... Paul says he would “eat no more meat if eating meat would cause anyone to stumble.” Romans 14:21 “It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.”
Wow! that is all inclusive; what if what I am doing is not wrong; I’m just doing my own thing and enjoying myself and it becomes sin if it causes anyone to stumble, to offend or to be made weak.
But don’t I have a right to do what I want to as long as I don’t violate the law of God? Yes, but there is another law that rules that is the law of love. ... I love my brethren and if my actions, my dress, my words, or anything about me would cause them to stumble or sin then it becomes sin to me.
Romans 12:18; 14:17; v. 21