Romans 14:19 - Edify One Another
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.Romans 14:19
We often talk about that sort of love being a necessary part of our Christian walk. But what actually is sacrificial love? The best way to learn what sacrificial love looks like is by considering what sacrificial love does.
One way to learn this is by surveying the “one anothers” in the New Testament. The first one we will consider is: “Edify one another.” As Paul tells us in Romans 14:19, “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification.” Another translation puts it this way: “So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.”
What Paul is doing here is painting a picture of a building – a house, let’s say. Peter too uses this image of a spiritual house when he writes, “You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:5).
What this essentially means is that as members of Christ, we’re all involved in a massive and very important building project. God is the architect and master builder. And as Paul says elsewhere, we ourselves are God’s building, God’s construction project (1 Corinthians 3:9).
The main building material, Paul tells us in Ephesians 4, is love – the love of Christ in particular: “From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (v 16).
In Romans, Paul gives this exhortation to build one another in love – to edify one another – in the context of a particular controversy that was threatening to break apart the church at Rome. Church members were having differences with one another. Such differences, for example, concerned what a person may or may not eat or drink.
Paul tells them not to allow the differences that they encounter with one another to break things apart in the church. Rather, when they encounter differences with one another, they need to make every effort to keep on building.
May we also remember that when we encounter differences with one another within the church. The church is a construction project, not a demolition crew. Indeed, it is God’s construction project, his building. And you dare not demolish God’s building.
Remember what happened when Satan tried that. It didn’t work – and he will suffer eternally for it. And remember what Jesus said to those who sought to destroy the work that God was doing through Him. He said: “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days” (John 2:19), by which He meant his body.
God’s building work will proceed, as surely as Jesus Christ is risen. His building work will proceed, no matter who tries to stop it or destroy it. Let’s put away the wrecking bars then, and let’s get working. Let’s make sure that we’re using the right building material – that is, love – from the right supplier, who is the Lord Jesus Christ. Through love, let us edify and build up one another.