God wants us to be LIKE-MINDED towards ONE ANOTHER: "Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God." (Romans 15:5-7)
It is a well known truth that human societies tend to encourage people to divide along racial, ethnic, and cultural lines, or else, assimilate into the dominant power group. However, Apostle Paul calls for a different approach in the above scriptural passage. He doesn't ask Jews to give up their Jewish heritage and become Gentiles, nor does he ask Gentiles to become Jews. Instead, he affirms the rich ethnic backgrounds of both groups while challenging them to live together in unity (v. 7).
In fact, Apostle Paul prays for the unity of all believers and expresses the wish that the God who gives steadfastness and comfort will enable the strong and the weak, Gentile and Jewish Christians, to live harmoniously according to the teaching and example of Christ Jesus. The result will be that the saints will be united in the worship of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is an amazing picture that we see ‘saved Jews’ and ‘saved Gentiles’ are of one mind and worship God with one voice in unison!
This is the kind of unity in the church that God calls us to— a diverse body of people who are unified around Christ. Our background, ethnicity, and cultural heritage are God’s gifts to each of us and to the church. He has placed us in our families as He has seen fit. We can rejoice in the rich heritage that God has given us and be enriched by the heritage and background that He has given others.
Paul’s point is that if God can receive us with the great chasm that existed between Him and us, should we not also be able to accept one another even if there are minor differences between us? The result of such acceptance of one another will be the harmonious praise to God from all His children, and God gets all the glory. Unity in the church is essential if God is to be glorified!
Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah who accepted Gentiles unconditionally, is the role model for all believers. Gentiles and Jews can sing praises to God in unity (vv. 9-12). The strong must bear the weak and help them grow, and that takes love and patience. This kind of unity among believers comes only from our union with Jesus Christ, who has paved the way before us. Unity becomes a reality when people who are deeply divided begin to thank God for His mercy shown through Christ. They are filled with joy, peace and hope “by the power of the Holy Spirit” (v. 13).
There is no doubt that God wants us to be like-minded towards one another! Let us be grateful to be a part of God’s family and live in unity so that the world will know about our love to God and to one another. When we are like-minded, there is synergy through teamwork as we turn against a common enemy (Satan) while we magnify our combined strength and work together in building God’s kingdom here on earth!