The One Another Commands: “Welcome One Another” (Rom. 15:7)

Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. (Rom. 15:7)


This verse is be understood in light of Paul’s exhortation at the very beginning of this chapter:

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. (Rom. 15:1)

A few verses later he writes,

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. (Rom. 15: 5-6)

Unity, peace, bearing with one another—these are themes throughout this entire passage. Verse 7 isn’t an abrupt change of thought. In one sense, it’s the climax of this passage:

Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. (Rom. 15:7)

But what exactly does Paul have in mind when he says that we’re to welcome one another?

The meaning of this command is easily missed and obscured in our culture. We welcome people all the time. It’s a staple in our seemingly infinite list of social norms. We welcome friends and family into our homes. Every Monday I welcome my students to class. But Paul’s command goes beyond mere manners.

Notice how we are to welcome one another:

Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

And how has Christ welcomed us? He has welcomed us as his sheep, his chosen, beloved people, and his Bride. He welcomed us into communion with himself though we didn’t deserve it. The work of Christ—his selfless love—fuels our love for one another. In light of what Christ has done for us, how can we not welcome one another whole heartedly? As Matthew Henry writes,

Let there be a mutual embracing among Christians. Those that have received Christ by faith must receive all Christians by brotherly love; though poor in the world, though persecuted and despised, though it may be matter of reproach and danger to you to receive them, though in the less weighty matters of the law they are of different apprehensions, though there may have been occasion for private piques, yet, laying aside these and the like considerations, receive you one another.

All of this we do by grace alone to the glory of our great King!

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