“Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” (Romans 15:7 ESV)
You can see the glory of God in a myriad ways. A beautiful sunset. A mother caring for her newborn. A father playing catch with his son. You can even see it in a thunderstorm.
Where we often miss the glory of God is in welcoming others. Not just other brothers and sisters in Christ—but also our enemies. We open up our sin-stained-yet-redeemed hearts to all kinds of people. The glory of God is on full display when that happens.
“Gospel doctrine (‘Christ has welcomed you’) creates gospel culture (‘welcome one another’),” Ray Ortlund said in a tweet, “for the display of God’s glory in a world of cold aloofness.”
In a world filled with “cold aloofness” and shying-away-from-people-you-don’t-know-ness, Romans 15:7 calls for a counter-cultural mindset. It calls for a welcoming heart. It calls for a tender welcome from a heart that has been welcomed by Christ.
When society rejects, Christians should welcome. When culture ostracizes, believers should embrace. When the world “cancels,” followers of Jesus should look past mistakes.
Christian, how can we not do this? Jesus has welcomed us—we are in Him and a part of God’s redeemed family. It’s done. We will never be cast out.
Because of our new redeemed family, it should, in turn, cause us to be welcoming to others—regardless of who they are. Part of how we shine the light of the glory of God is through our welcoming others. What is revealed about our hearts if we have been welcomed by Christ but aren’t welcoming to others?
Might it reveal we need a refresher on what it means to be welcoming? We are to be people who, when pricked, bleed out grace and compassionate—and welcome-ness. By receiving God’s grace in Christ, we should be the most welcoming of people.
Being welcoming will not always look the same. It’ll look different in varying situations. However, it’s the posture of our heart that should be on display. For the glory of God, we should welcome all people. What does it mean to welcome others?
It may mean having a chat with a stranger. Perhaps it means giving a ride to someone who is walking down the street. Whatever it is, it means “open-hearted, full-throttle embrace of every human we come across” (source).
At the foundation, welcoming others means to be ready to embrace all people you come across. No smug attitude. No avoiding others because they look different than you. Just an attitude of welcoming. Why?
Because Christ has welcomed us. And when we do this faithfully—and we should desire to—we glorify God.
So . . . welcome.