We, then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. (Romans 15:1 KJV)
Paul classified believers into two groups: strong and weak. He urges the strong, by virtue of their strength, to bear the weakness of the weak. Who are these strong and weak Christians?
The discourse about the strong and the weak began in the previous chapter, in Romans 14. In the first two verses, Paul said: “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.” (Romans 14:1–2, KJV). So, Paul’s classification was based on the strength of the believer’s faith, which in turn, as in this context, was shaped by their understanding of spiritual things.
So, whether we are strong or weak depends on the stability or strength of our faith. And this strength of faith is rooted in our spiritual understanding. If believers are weak, then the church is weak; and if the Church is weak, Christ’s purposes on earth will be thwarted. I once read how a Church leader in some nation made the Christian sisters undress for prayers while this pastor (probably a fake one, a wolf amongst the sheep) laid his hands on them. I could only imagine the tears in the Lord’s eyes seeing His saints denigrated by these spiritual predators. Although the example is extreme, it shows us what happens and can happen when believers are weak in the faith.
God is calling His Church to be strong and mature. While spiritual weakness is not a sin, God’s purposes require spiritually strong believers: it takes strong Christians to say no to sin in a sin-infested society, preach the Gospel in adverse situations, establish God’s kingdom in a hostile world, etc.
Are you strong or weak in the faith?
Apply the Word
If you are strong, bear the weakness of the weak. If you are still weak in the faith, do not remain a burden to be constantly borne—grow so that you can also bear the weak, often but not always new babes born into the faith.
Ask the Father to strengthen His people.
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