Apostolic Identity & Holiness Standards -Part 2

apostolic: of or relating to the Apostles of Jesus Christ.  What did the Apostles teach and practice?

Romans 14:9-14 NLT - Christ died and rose again for this very purpose—to be Lord both of the living and of the dead. 10 So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For the Scriptures say,“ ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will confess and give praise to God.’” 12 Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. 13 So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall. 14 I know and am convinced on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat. But if someone believes it is wrong, then for that person it is wrong.

Here are the main apostolic identity holiness standards in this passage:  (1) Don’t condemn or mock fellow believers who do not live with the same outward standards or freedoms you do.  (2) Live in a way that will not cause another believer to lose heart or lose faith in God nor to fall into sin.  (3) Do not engage in behaviors you personally believe to be wrong - even if other Christians feel the liberty to do them. 

It’s messy when you are called into fellowship with and love for those who live stricter than you do and with those with liberties you personally disagree with.  Yet this is the true apostolic identity holiness standard, and it requires Christ living through us to do it.  Otherwise our spiritual immaturity and sinful natures tend to rule us - even when we claim to be holy.  This is evidenced when we divide the body of Christ into camps based on our outward standards and convictions (or lack thereof).  May God help us to grow up!  Are we really going to be this divisive and immature about loving beyond outward differences when the worldwide persecution of Christians is exploding and the Millennial generation in America is becoming filled with unbelievers in record numbers?  To divide the body of Christ and weaken the disciple-making mission of the Church over debatable topics seems very much like what God considers to be an abomination (detestable) in Proverbs 6:19.  

Are you able to say, “Maybe certain behaviors are not wrong, and I’m still not going to do them - but I still am bound by the blood and love of Christ to the family of God, including those who see some behaviors differently than I do”?  Or, “Maybe certain behaviors are not essential issues, so I am not required to follow them - but I am still bound by the blood and love of Christ to the family of God, including those who insist on living by stricter standards of behavior”?