THE BOOK OF ROMANS
Chapter 14, The Study
"
Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions."
 


J. Deering, AncientPath.net


ROMANS:
THE STUDY
ROMANS CHAPTER 14 “Christians Differ”


Romans 14

Principles of Conscience

 1 Now (A) accept the one who is (B) weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.

Right off the bat it is important to see that Paul sees that:

  1. not all Christians have the same calling, the same walk, the same sensibilities, or the same value system.

  2. some Christians are “strong,” and some are “weak” in the faith, but all are called into the unity of Christ, and the unity of the Holy Spirit.

  3. strength or weakness is not, and should not, be an area that is acceptable for Christians to pass judgment upon.

Christians everywhere and over all time have had the long-term problem of acting like little gods and trying to pass judgment on the actions of others (just like all members of the human community).  God finds this human usurpation of His responsibility of judgment to be abhorrent. In the case of “strong VS weak” faith it is a double strength problem as faith is a gift of His to begin with. In our studies of chapters 12-13 we found that the gifts of the Spirit and the faith that accompanies them are outright gifts from the Father.

Christians, as well as others, believe that each of us has the right to determine “correctness” in the areas of gifts, faith, and spirituality. Many have become “law-keepers,” and court jurors in the area of acceptable behavior for others.

It has often amused me that those who find the most pleasure in finding fault with the calling and walk of others are in the category of “weak” according to Paul! He considers those who have no “scruples,” (learned intolerance of others or other’s activities) to be strong, and the weak, often full of “scruples” as weak in that they are unable to see beyond their self-centeredness to see the working of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit in the lives and actions of others.

2 (C) One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is (D) weak eats vegetables only.

Paul points out that those who “will not” do certain things – because of their learned understanding (often the result of personal hurt) fall into the category of weak. He lists the vegetarian as weak because the Word of God clearly teaches that man is to not only subdue wildlife but also eat it. It is a matter (except for a medical requirement) of Scruple, or learned response. Are little animals really cute – sure, are full grown animals wondrous and often beautiful? – Yes indeed. Are some (many) animals abused during food processing? Yes indeed, however God’s word has made it clear from since Noah’s time,

“Every moving thing that lives shall be meat for you; even – in the same way – as the green herb have I given you all things” (Genesis 9:3).

During the wilderness wanderings there were dietary laws to prevent illness and plague. There were also laws that demanded certain animals were to be abstained from – for types and pictures of God’s glory and character. With the death of Christ on the cross came the end of the dealings with the Nation of Israel and it’s God given law until the return of the King (Jesus Christ).

It was Peter’s vision from heaven that all things four footed animal, and birds, were clean (Acts 10:10). In verses 14-15 Peter says, “… I have never eaten anything impure or unclean. The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean!”

BUT….

 3 The one who eats is not to (E) regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to (F) judge the one who eats, for God has (G) accepted him.

In the area of EATING – do NOT judge one another because of what the other eats or doesn’t eat (clean or unclean according to the Mosaic law). We can extend this truth to any activity that has cultural scruples attached to it. This should serve as a reminder to every one of us that whatever goes into our body that is not specifically called out in scripture as wrong (or by example) does not make us the weaker or stronger person in the eyes of the Lord – nor should it in the eyes of believers.

 4 (H) Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

An Example:

One of the greatest servants of the Lord Jesus in the 20th century was C. S. Lewis. His teachings, his writings, his personal testimony and witness to thousands of Oxford university students are a clear demonstration of his place in the family of God. C. S. Lewis was a chain smoker. In the United States, in areas outside the tobacco culture of the South, his ministry was diminished in many Christian churches because of their scruple against smoking. Yet, in the South, where the culture and economic interests in smoking were greatest, he was held in high esteem.

The bottom of the line for C. S. Lewis was that God had called him to HIS ministry. Smoking or not smoking should have never been a matter for personal judgment as to the effectiveness of the ministry of Christ through him.

 5 (I) One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike Each person must be (J) fully convinced in his own mind.

Don’t miss this important thought.

Fully convinced – Is that what you are about your activities. What do you regard above other things. If you do… do it with passion, be fully convinced.

I think Paul is sticking a fork into the belly of those who found their pleasure in judging others “just for the pleasure of it.” This statement of Paul’s comes right at a time when we would be expecting him to BE STRONG, not weak – but NO. He calls us to be what we are and to be it “Fully Convinced.” Sort of a “be true to thine own self” statement.

If you find an activity that is being criticized by others, and you believe you are right with the scriptures on it, then you had better be FULLY CONVINCED of it and take your stand before the Lord – Strong or Weak

FOR

 6 He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he (K) gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. 7 For not one of us (L) lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; 8 for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore (M) whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. 9 For to this end (N) Christ died and lived again, that He might be (O)Lord both of the dead and of the living.

 10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you (P) regard your brother with contempt? For (Q) we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For it is written,

         "(R) AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, (S) EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME,
         AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD."

12 So then (T) each one of us will give an account of himself to God.


THE PRINCIPLE OF A NEIGHBOR’S GOOD
 13 Therefore let us not (U) judge one another anymore, but rather determine this--(V) not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother's way.

Here’s the principle and concept. The stumbling block, as we learned many weeks ago, was the result of the builders of the temple (Nehemiah’s day) no knowing that the “key-stones” were necessary to the building of the arches. Later in the Gospels we learn that Jesus Christ as typified in those “key-stones” in that they represented those part of the structure that would eventually hold the rest of the structure up, bearing the stress and weight of the upper part of the building.

So it then becomes, later in the New Testament, that these “stones of stumbling” are pictures or types of Christ placed before others to make them stumble – but not knowing that they represent Him.

The judgment of others is spoken of here as one of these times when this is apparent. Others see our judgment of them (especially unbelievers) as a stumbling block for them, when in reality it is Jesus that becomes the stumbling block for them. Others, when unfairly judged, place the blame upon “Christianity” or in fact, Jesus Himself.

“What you do in judging others is seen as a stumbling block to faith.”

 14 I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that (W) nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who (X) thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

Here is a major revelation of the inner workings of humanity. Humans believe a thing to be unclean – it they think it is unclean, regardless of the truth of its cleanliness.

This is important to know! Human convictions are more often about feelings (scruples), than about facts (“My mind is made up, don’t confuse me with the facts!”) Keep this in mind for the next verse…

 15 For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer (Y) walking according to love (Z) Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died.

PLEASE remember that we are talking about JUDGING ONE ANOTHER, not about EATING OR DRINKING.

If, by JUDGING another over their FOOD you hurt them (Not the Food, but the JUDGING), then YOU are no longer walking according to love.
The second half of the verse brings the issue to us again… DO NOT DESTROY (through JUDGMENT) with your food.

CHRIST DIED FOR HIM
CHRIST DIED FOR YOU
DO NOT USURP THE RESPONSIBILITY OF GOD THE FATHER BY JUDGING ON ANOTHER.

 16 Therefore (AA) do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil;

Literally, “Therefore, YOU STOP LETTING what is a good thing be spoken of as evil.

Again – it is the JUDGING that is the central issue. It is through judging that a food is found to be good to eat, resulting is hurting another who does not eat that thing – or through judging that a food is found to be bad to eat, resulting in hurting another who does eat that thing.

STOP HURTING ONE ANOTHER by judging each other (in those areas where your have not been given the responsibility to judge – the Ray clause).

THE REAL ISSUES

 17 for the kingdom of God (AB) is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and (AC) peace and (AD) joy in the Holy Spirit.  18 For he who in this way (AE) serves Christ is (AF) acceptable to God and approved by men.

SO THEN…

 19 So then [a] we (AG) pursue the things which make for peace and the (AH) building up of one another. 20 (AI) Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food

(AJ) All things indeed are clean,
but
(AK) they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense.

STILL IN THE CHAPTER ABOUT JUDGING ONE ANOTHER
Remembering Verse :16

 21 (AL) It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles.

It is important that we see that the principles

  1. ALL THINGS ARE CLEAN

  2. We are NOT to JUDGE each other concerning things that God has revealed as CLEAN

  3. People believe what they want regardless of the FACTS involved

  4. WE ARE NOT TO HURT ONE ANOTHER

We are to so live that we do not hurt one another either through our judgment of other’s CLEAN activities or participating in CLEAN activities that others deem UNCLEAN.

Holding each other in such high esteem, that we would never willingly hurt one another.

That is a two way street. Typically those who see themselves as in the right on one of these issues make little if any room for the beliefs of the other.

So let it be said OUT LOUD, that the intention of Paul is that NO BELIEVER SHOULD HURT ANOTHER BELIEVER REGARDLESS OF HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT THESE ISSUES.

A FINAL HAPPY NOTE:

 22 The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who (AM) does not condemn himself in what he approves.

A FINAL WARNING:

 23 But (AN) he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.

Never, act against your convictions (Godly Convictions) or it will be sin-to-you. – BUT only as the verses above teach – BELIEVERS ARE NOT TO HURT ONE ANOTHER.


Footnotes:

  1. Romans 14:19 Later mss read let us pursue

Cross references:

  1. Romans 14:1 : Acts 28:2; Rom 11:15; 14:3; 15:7

  2. Romans 14:1 : Rom 14:2; 15:1; 1 Cor 8:9-ff; 9:22

  3. Romans 14:2 : Rom 14:14

  4. Romans 14:2 : Rom 14:1; 15:1; 1 Cor 8:9-ff; 9:22

  5. Romans 14:3 : Luke 18:9; Rom 14:10

  6. Romans 14:3 : Rom 14:10, 13; Col 2:16

  7. Romans 14:3 : Acts 28:2; Rom 11:15; 14:1; 15:7

  8. Romans 14:4 : Rom 9:20; James 4:12

  9. Romans 14:5 : Gal 4:10

  10. Romans 14:5 : Luke 1:1; Rom 4:21; 14:23

  11. Romans 14:6 : Matt 14:19; 15:36; 1 Cor 10:30; 1 Tim 4:3

  12. Romans 14:7 : Rom 8:38; 2 Cor 5:15; Gal 2:20; Phil 1:20

  13. Romans 14:8 : Luke 20:38; Phil 1:20; 1 Thess 5:10; Rev 14:13

  14. Romans 14:9 : Rev 1:18; 2:8

  15. Romans 14:9 : Matt 28:18; John 12:24; Phil 2:11; 1 Thess 5:10

  16. Romans 14:10 : Luke 18:9; Rom 14:3

  17. Romans 14:10 : Rom 2:16; 2 Cor 5:10

  18. Romans 14:11 : Is 45:23

  19. Romans 14:11 : Phil 2:10

  20. Romans 14:12 : Matt 12:36; 16:27; 1 Pet 4:5

  21. Romans 14:13 : Matt 7:1; Rom 14:3

  22. Romans 14:13 : 1 Cor 8:13

  23. Romans 14:14 : Acts 10:15; Rom 14:2, 20

  24. Romans 14:14 : 1 Cor 8:7

  25. Romans 14:15 : Eph 5:2

  26. Romans 14:15 : Rom 14:20; 1 Cor 8:11

  27. Romans 14:16 : 1 Cor 10:30; Titus 2:5

  28. Romans 14:17 : 1 Cor 8:8

  29. Romans 14:17 : Rom 15:13; Gal 5:22

  30. Romans 14:17 : Rom 15:13; Gal 5:22

  31. Romans 14:18 : Rom 16:18

  32. Romans 14:18 : 2 Cor 8:21; Phil 4:8; 1 Pet 2:12

  33. Romans 14:19 : Ps 34:14; Rom 12:18; 1 Cor 7:15; 2 Tim 2:22; Heb 12:14

  34. Romans 14:19 : Rom 15:2; 1 Cor 10:23; 14:3, 26; 2 Cor 12:19; Eph 4:12, 29

  35. Romans 14:20 : Rom 14:15

  36. Romans 14:20 : Acts 10:15; Rom 14:2, 14

  37. Romans 14:20 : 1 Cor 8:9-12

  38. Romans 14:21 : 1 Cor 8:13

  39. Romans 14:22 : 1 John 3:21

  40. Romans 14:23 : Rom 14:5


New American Standard Bible (NASB)
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2012-11-21