The Welcome of God

Reading Romans 15 this morning I came across this phrase that has become a favorite to me. “Welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God” (Rom 15:7). In the context Paul is urging the church to embrace others in spite of differences and disagreements. He is calling them to selfless service. He tells them to imitate Jesus who “did not please himself” (Rom 15:3). At the heart of his instruction stands the cross (Rom 15:4). The greatest act of service and the warmest welcome are both found in the cross of Christ. On that tree Jesus refused to please himself and instead gave himself away for the good of others. The arms of God spread open on the cross are God’s welcome to sinful humanity. He has welcomed us. We therefore are called to welcome others no matter the differences. The cross puts sacrifice at the heart of hospitality.

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