We live in a world of hierarchies and this is all we know. The strong ones make it to the top and the weak ones are being dominated. That has been our reality for as long as we can remember. However, this is not God’s reality. When Paul wrote his letter to the Romans he lived in the time of the Roman Empire, and the Roman Empire was based on conquest and rule by the sword. The gods of strength were worshiped in Rome. Submission of peoples and tribes all over the ancient world added to the Roman Empire and left a trail of blood. Somehow this mindset seeped into the Roman congregation and so, intolerance reared its ugly head. Established believers began to look down on other believers who did not measure up. The apostle Paul recognized that and wrote (Romans 14:1)
“Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters.”
He goes on to say (Romans 14:10):
“You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.”
Accepting the weak without judging them appeals to the Lord, and yet this is not easy for us to do. Acceptance begins with recognizing disputable matters and letting things go instead of insisting on being right.
God is indisputable, but He gains no one through the sword. “Every knee will bow” could be misunderstood that the Lord rules in a domineering way. However, this is not the God that I know and I don’t believe He will change overnight. He has given us free will and He will continue to respect our decisions. God has children, no blind following and His children know they do not need to compete for His love. It is human to love some people more than others, but in the eyes of the Lord we are all equals and there is no hierarchy to His love. I imagine He loves His children no less than He loves His Son Jesus.
The Lord did not conquer death through military conquest but by submitting Himself to a shameful death on the cross. True conquest in God’s world is through love alone, never by the sword. And there will be a day in the future when every knee bows and every tongue confesses that love indeed rules. Love has a name; it’s Jesus the Messiah, the Lord of lords and King of kings.