Romans Chapter 14

Let’s take a moment to summarize: Paul explained the gospel in detail beginning in Romans Chapter One and ending in Romans Chapter 11. Then, from Romans Chapter 12 onwards he began talking about how we practically interact with each other. In Romans 12 Paul talked about proving that God’s will is perfect, not thinking too highly of oneself, genuinely loving others, and overcoming evil with good. Then, in Romans 13, Paul talked about being subject to authority, loving others, and having a sense of urgency.

In Romans 14, Paul explains how to deal with people who think differently from you.

Generally, we tend to distance ourselves from those who think differently from us. This is the attitude of most people – when strolling in the vegetable garden, I say ‘tomato’, and therefore want to hang out with people who say ‘tomato’. If someone says ‘tomaato’ I’ll smile and move on, for I’m a tomato guy, not a tomaato guy.

Now if we’re just smiling and moving on that’s not too bad. But what also tends to happen is that we tend to make judgments like, "Sheesh, he said ‘tomaato’ – can you believe that? How dumb can one get!"

That is the kind of behavior that Paul addresses in this chapter.

1 Now accept the one who is weak in faith, {but} not for {the purpose of} passing judgment on his opinions.

2 One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables {only.}

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

4 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.

There are two extremes that we should avoid: one, treating the other person with contempt because he does not feel free to do what you do, and two, judging the other person because does what you believe to be unholy.

This general principle is applicable in many, many areas. We tend to feel uncomfortable around people who do things differently from us. When our mind begins to judge or show contempt we need to let love control us and give the other person freedom to be himself.

Why is this very important? It is important because if we don’t deal with these things properly then we spend too much time dealing with our issues with each other instead of furthering the kingdom of God. An army that is mostly fighting within itself is not going to make much inroads conquering the enemy.

Satan knows this, and therefore, one of his strategies is to stir up trouble as often as he can.

5 One person regards one day above another, another regards every day {alike.} Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.

6 He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he 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 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 whether we live or die, we are the Lord's.

9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.

11 For it is written, "AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD."

Paul wants to make sure that you understand what he is saying, and so he gives actual examples.

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

This is an important verse to remember – I have to give an account for myself, and therefore I don’t need to judge or be contemptuous of my brother. Life is a lots simpler because of that.

13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this – not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother's way.

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

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

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

17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Righteousness, peace and joy are the main things in the kingdom of God. Anything that detracts us from those things should be suspect.

18 For he who in this {way} serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.

19 So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.

20 Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense.

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

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

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

So when it comes to things that Scripture is silent about – specifically or generally, give others the freedom to do as they please, and you yourself can do as you please.

I say ‘specifically and generally’ to indicate that we should follow explicit commands as well as general principles. But regarding the things that violate neither specific commands nor general principles we are free to do as we please.


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