As followers of Jesus Christ we should have a different thought process, developing a biblical viewpoint, and possessing a Christ-like attitude in all things. We will think with His values, possess His vision, and to allow that to change our attitudes. This in turn will change our actions and pursuits. I was so intrigued as I studied this concept that I went to the concordance and looked up verses on the “mind.” To have the mind of Christ means to think with the Word of God, so that we bring our thoughts and actions into harmony with God’s viewpoint by applying God’s words to everything we say and do.
“Now the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.” Romans 15:5-7
To be of the same mind with one another does not mean we think alike about everything, because Paul just finished telling us in Romans 14 that there will be differing opinions. The unity that we are encouraged toward is not to just love the same things, but that we all possess the same love. While we all have our different personalities, our different gifts, and different upbringing, Paul is praying that we should be unified in our love of Jesus and our focus on Him. He prays not for uniformity, but for harmony.
Instead of each of us doing our own thing, we should pursue unity through love. These two groups of believers that the Apostle Paul was addressing were having difficulty accepting each other’s different views and convictions. He wanted them to contemplate how the Lord Jesus had accepted them trusting that their entire perspective towards their fellow brethren would change.
He is not talking about a winking toward each others sin. Rather, a tolerance and patience towards each other in regards to personal convictions. In addition, allowances must be made for growth in grace and in knowledge among believers. Those Christians who are more mature in their faith need more consideration and give in this area.
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.” Philippians 2:
Some Christians have come out of situations where there was a list of dos and don’ts which had to be followed, none of which were biblically required. Nothingwill destroy unity more quickly than extra-biblical rules, which are used for the basis of acceptance. In fact, this is nothing more than contemporary Pharisaism. No doubt, some of these rules originated with correct motives; wanting to preserve or guarantee certain standards of behavior. However, when acceptance or rejection is based on performance, it quickly leads to judgmental behavior, false spirituality and false guilt. It destroys personal freedom for each of us to grow into what God really wants us to be.
How does Christ accept us? Christ accepts us on the basis of us repenting and in faith believing His finished work on the cross for our forgiveness. He unconditionally accepted us right where we were, warts and all. He doesn’t wait until we are sinless before inviting us into relationship with Him; He invites us into a relationship with Him while we are yet sinners so that He might lead us into living the truth. Just as Christ accepted each of us, so we should accept one another.
“Therefore I, (Paul) the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3