THE PROPER RECEIVING OF THE SAINTS
It is only by being so liberal and general that we can receive all the saints in the proper way. If we are otherwise, we cannot avoid being sectarian in the matter of receiving. If we are special in anything and insist upon that, we will probably not receive those who differ from us in certain matters. But the apostle said, “Him who is weak in faith receive, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his considerations” (Rom. 14:1). What he meant when he referred to “him who is weak in faith” is illustrated in the following verses, which cover the matters of eating and the keeping of days. By this we are affirmatively told that we must receive the saints who differ from us in these things. Any saint who holds a different opinion or concept regarding the things of which we are in favor, we must receive, “for God has received him.” As long as he is a saint, as long as he has been received by God, we must receive him. Since God has received him, we have no right to reject him. Our receiving must be the same as God’s receiving, no less and no more. God’s receiving is the basis of our receiving. Our receiving must not be according to our taste, our opinion, or our assertion. It must be in accordance with God’s receiving. It must be based upon God’s receiving—nothing else.
God receives people according to His Son. As long as a person receives His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, as his personal Savior, regardless of the concepts he holds regarding all other things, God receives him immediately. Since God receives people in this way, we too must receive people in the same way. Our receiving must be in accordance with God’s receiving. If our receiving differs from His, it means that we are wrong: either we are more narrow or more broad than God. This will cause much trouble and damage to the church life.
God’s receiving is based upon Christ’s receiving, and Christ’s receiving is in accordance with our faith in Him. Whoever believes in Him, He will receive. Whoever receives Him, He will never reject. He said, “Him who comes to Me I shall by no means cast out” (John 6:37). Since coming to Him, believing in Him, receiving Him, is the only condition for Christ’s receiving, we must receive people upon the same basis with nothing added. As long as one believes in Christ our Lord, as long as he receives Him as his personal Savior, we must receive him with nothing else required. Regardless of how he may dissent in so many other things, as long as he is a real believer in the Lord, we have no choice but to receive him, for the Lord has received him. This is why the apostle said, “Therefore receive one another, as Christ also received you to the glory of God” (Rom. 15:7). We must receive whoever Christ has received. We must have such a proper receiving of all the saints so that we may keep the proper oneness; otherwise, we can never keep ourselves from being sectarian and causing much confusion and damage to the church life. To practice the church life by keeping the proper oneness, such a general receiving is necessary. May the Lord have mercy upon us.
(The Practical Expression of the Church, Chapter 7, by Witness Lee)