There are many “one another” passages in the Bible. These passages are commands from God for how the members of the Church are to think, speak, and act towards one another. This morning we shall discuss a very important, but often neglected “one another” passage. It is from Romans 15:14:
I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.
From this passage we shall discuss three points: (1) Our Goodness (2) Our Knowledge and (3) How our goodness and knowledge enable us to instruct one another.
Full of goodness
Paul said that the Church is “full of goodness”. This is true but we must acknowledge the origin of this goodness. When God created us, He graciously bestowed goodness upon us and He called us “very good” (Gen 1:31). We were good until Adam rebelled against God and lost his goodness due to sin (Rom 5:12) in the garden (Gen 3). Because we are descendants of Adam, we share in Adam’s guilt and are “under sin” (Rom 3:9). Paul makes this argument clear in Romans 3:10 “none is righteous, no, not one”. We, by nature, are not good in God’s sight.
The fact that we are not good, makes the gospel so great. We had goodness according to grace, lost goodness according to our actions, and receive goodness once more by grace. This goodness is once again bestowed on us by the grace of God. According to the Bible, this goodness is not our own, but that of Jesus Christ. We cannot claim goodness before God. While it is good for children to obey their parents, obedience to mom and dad do not restore goodness before God. While it is good for us to follow social customs and the laws of the land, obedience in these areas do not restore goodness before God.
Another major point is that while it is good to be connected to a local church, to serve, give, and minister; religious obedience does not restore goodness before God. If following religious rules made you good before God, then why did Jesus repeatedly rebuke the religiously devout Pharisees (calling them “whitewashed tombs” in Matt 23:27-28).
It is important to know that goodness is not earned but bestowed. Just like in Genesis 1 when God graciously called man good, God once again calls man good (Rom 4:7-8) when the goodness of Jesus is transferred to him (Rom 3:22). When this happens we are justified (Rom 3:24), and adopted (Eph 1:5) into the family of God. It is humbling and wonderful to acknowledge that I am not good, but Christ is good and He shares His goodness with me.
Filled with all Knowledge
We are full of goodness through faith in Jesus Christ and are “filled with all knowledge”. This does not mean that we know all things about all things, but as 2 Peter 1:3 makes clear, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to his own glory and excellence (2 Peter 1:3).
The Church is filled with all the knowledge required for life and godliness through the work of the Holy Spirit and the testimony of the Holy Scriptures. Paul wrote to Timothy saying, “ All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Tim 3:16-17.)
This means that Christians have everything we need to help one another grow and change in order to become more like Jesus Christ (Rom 8:29); and we have it right here in the Church. If a person is having a problem in their marriage, with their children, at home, at work, or all of the above; the Church is able to help because we know the One who can provide the best help.
Able to Instruct One Another
If you need a physical checkup would it make sense to go to a mechanic? Even if he/she is a good mechanic, I am afraid you will not find the help you need. If your car is overheating would it make sense to call your doctor? A doctor may try to help fix your car but wouldn’t you rather have a mechanic look at it?
If you need help with problems the Bible addresses (anger, anxiety, etc.) wouldn’t you prefer to have help come from one that is “full of goodness” and “filled with all knowledge”? Because the Church has been given these two qualities, we should not only be able but willing to “instruct one another.” The Church has both the Holy Spirit and the Holy Scriptures, what else is needed? We need one another to encourage godliness and confront ungodliness. We must instruct, admonish, warn, and help one another become more like our Lord.
The Church is not a gathering of people who are good at obeying religious rules. We are people who are good because we are united to Christ by faith. He is good and He shares His goodness with us. Instead of presenting ourselves as well-adjusted people who do not need to change or grow, we are to honestly admit that we still struggle with sin and need one another to help us change and grow to become more like Christ.
The implications are profound. We confess to one another: “I am not a good person, but Christ is and He loves me. Please help me grow to become more like Him!”
Let us also remember that the Church is filled with all knowledge and that it is here that we can find the answers that pertain to life and godliness. Let us humble ourselves before one another and instruct one another to become more like Christ.