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 Romans Chapter 14 – Part One

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PostSubject: Romans Chapter 14 – Part One   Fri Oct 03, 2014 3:36 am

Romans 14:1-4

In dealing with other Christians
Paul had discussed various aspects of a Christian’s responsibilities in interpersonal relationships (Rom_12:9-21; Rom_13:8-10), but relationships with other believers loom large and involve special problems that require discussion. Harmonious relationships within the family of God are important.

Without Judging

Christians are at different levels of spiritual maturity. They also have diverse backgrounds that color their attitudes and practices. The first lesson to learn in living harmoniously with other Christians, therefore, is to stop judging others.
The focus in these verses is on him whose faith is weak (lit., “the one being weak in faith”), which appears in the emphatic first position in the sentence. Paul commanded believers to accept (pres. middle imper., “keep on taking to yourselves”; cf. Rom_15:7) such a person, without passing judgment on disputable matters (lit., “but not unto quarrels about opinions”). We can easily see from this, that just because someone is not a trained Bible scholar is no reason not to fellowship with them. We are warned not to get into arguments with them that might lead to their not believing. The new convert to Christianity should be fed milk and honey for a while, until they are able to understand the deeper things in the Word. I Corinthians 3:1 "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, [even] as unto babes in Christ."
I Corinthians 3:2 "I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able [to bear it], neither yet now are ye able."
The mature believer should not sit in judgment on the sincere but underdeveloped thoughts that govern the weak believer’s conduct.
The weaker brother may feel he must abstain from certain practices that are in fact not sinful in themselves.
A believer with certain scruples is not to be welcomed into the fellowship with the intent of changing his views or opinions by quarreling with him about them.
One area of differing scruples pertains to food, in particular the eating of meat. One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables (lit., “but the one being weak eats vegetables”). The strong believer whose mature faith allows him to exercise his freedom in Christ by eating the inexpensive meat sold at the pagan meat markets. It was inexpensive because a worshiper had first offered it as a sacrifice to a pagan deity.
We know that anything we pray over is clean and may be eaten without fear of condemnation from God. The secret is the prayer, the prayer made it clean for us.
I Timothy 4:4-5 "For every creature of God [is] good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:" "For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer."
The person who is eating herbs is doing it from lack of knowledge. We, who know that it is alright to eat meat, should not make fun of a fellow Christian if he feels it is wrong.
I Timothy 4:1-3 "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;" "Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; " "Forbidding to marry, [and commanding] to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth."
The reason some Christians then were vegetarians is not stated. Since the issue is related to their Christian faith, it could be to insure against eating meat offered to idols (cf. 1Co_8:1-13; 1Co_10:23-30). The reason for a believer’s scruple is not the point, however; its existence alongside a differing opinion was Paul’s concern.
In such a situation neither believer should judge the other. Look down on (exoutheneitō; also used in Rom_14:10) should be translated “despise” or “reject with contempt” (cf. “treat… with contempt,” Gal_4:14; 1Th_5:20). The reason a “strong” Christian (cf. Rom_15:1) should not despise a “weak” one, and the reason that a weak Christian should not condemn (krinetō) the strong one is that God has accepted (same verb as in Rom_14:1) both of them. This tells me that to the fullness of the knowledge that we possess at the time, we should do our best to be pleasing to God.
I Corinthians 10:29 "Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another [man's] conscience?" Here, we see the answer to it all. Whatever we do, we must do it with a clear conscience. Again I say, God will not hold you responsible for the things you do not know, if you have made an effort to do what you believe to be pleasing to Him. Why don't we just let God handle His business? We are not anyone's judge, God is. What God does with someone else is not our business.
The strong hold the weak in contempt as legalistic and self- righteous; the weak judge the strong to be irresponsible at best and perhaps depraved.
(Another reason for not downgrading others is given later in Rom_14:10.) As a believer, he is a servant of God and he is accountable to God, his Judge. Any Christian tempted to judge another believer must face Paul’s question, Who are you to judge (lit., “the one judging”) someone else servant? (Oiketēn, “domestic servant,” is not the usual word doulos, “slave.”) The present participle, “the one judging,” suggests that Paul sensed some judging of others was occurring among the Christians at Rome. But such criticizing is wrong because a domestic servant should be evaluated by his… master, not by fellow believers. Therefore, Paul concluded, And he will stand (lit., “he shall be made to stand”), for the Lord is able to make him stand. It is how Christ evaluates each believer is what matters, and His judgment does not take into account religious tradition or personal preference.
Even if a believer despises the scruples of another Christian, God can defend the second person.

Romans 14:5-8

A second area of differing opinions was the significance of special days. One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike (cf. Col_2:16). Which position a person held meant nothing to the apostle. His concern was that each one should be fully convinced in his own mind (cf. Rom_14:14, Rom_14:22), examining his heart to be sure he is doing what he feels the Lord would have him do. Colossians 2:16 "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days]:"
These are both interesting Scriptures, in face of the fact that, the Jews celebrate Saturday as their Sabbath, and the Christians celebrate Sunday as the Lord's Day or first fruits. We are told to be fully persuaded that what we are doing is pleasing to God. We are to celebrate with a clear conscience. Whatever day you esteem, do it as unto the Lord.
The weak Gentile wanted to separate himself from the special days of festivities associated with his former paganism because of its immorality and idolatry.
The mature believers were unaffected by those concerns. Each Christian must follow the dictates of his own conscience in matters not specifically commanded or prohibited in Scripture. Since conscience is a God given mechanism to warn, and responds to the highest standard of moral law in the mind, it is not sensible to train yourself to ignore it. Rather, respond to its compunctions and as you mature, by learning more, your mind will not alert it to those things which are not essential.
And he should hold his opinion to the Lord. This is true for any issue where an honest difference of opinion among Christians exists, whether in keeping or not keeping special days or eating or abstaining from meat, or in other matters not prohibited by Scripture. God is not so interested in the technicality of what day we celebrate as He is in the fact that we have chosen an individual day and set it aside to worship in. God wants our heart to be in worshipping Him. We know that Jesus said, that the sabbath was made for man and not man for the sabbath.
Mark 2:27 "And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:"
You see from this it is not the day that is important, but the fact that we choose to worship God one day a week.
This verse tells us that the strong believer eats whatever he pleases and thanks the Lord. The weak brother eats according to his ceremonial diet and thanks the Lord that he made a sacrifice on His behalf. In either case, the believer thanks the Lord, so the motive is the same. Whether weak or strong, the motive behind a believer’s decisions about issues of conscience must be to please the Lord.
All belongs to the Lord and is sanctioned by Him (1Co_10:25-27; 1Ti_4:3-5). A believer’s individual accountability to the Lord in every area and experience of life is paramount. The focus of Christian living is never oneself. Everything we do should be to please our sovereign Lord.
I Corinthians 6:19-20 "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" "For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
Each Christian in both life and death is seen by the Lord, and is accountable to Him, not to other Christians. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. Jesus bought us on the cross with His own precious blood. We are not our own, we belong to Jesus.
Galatians 2:20 "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
You see, if I am a Christian, then Christ lives through me and in me.

Romans 14:9-12

In these verses Paul stated the theological basis for his exhortation for Christians to desist from and to resist judging one another. One of the reasons for the Lord Jesus’ redemptive death and resurrection is to be the Lord of both the dead and the living. Christ died not only to free us from sin, but to enslave us to Himself; to establish Himself as Sovereign over the saints in His presence and those still on earth.
John 11:25 "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:"
We see from this Scripture that, Jesus not only rose from the dead, but because He rose, we have the promise that we will rise also if we believe in Him. Jesus is actually Lord over everything.
Philippians 2:10 "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth;" You see, there is no limit to His power and rule.
Since Jesus is the Lord, Christians should not judge (krineis) or… look down on (exoutheneis, “despise” or “reject with contempt”; cf. Rom_14:3) one another, their brothers, in such matters. One Christian is not above another as his judge; all are equally under Christ, the Judge.
As Lord, Jesus will one day review and evaluate the ministry of His servants at His judgment seat (bēma; see comments on 2Co_5:10). Ecclesiastes 12:14 "For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether [it be] good, or whether [it be] evil."
Jesus is the Judge of all the earth. We will stand or fall by whether we are accepted by Him as His sheep, or whether we are among the goats. Jesus sends the sheep to eternal life in heaven with Him. He sends the goats to eternal damnation.
Matthew 25:32-34 "And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth [his] sheep from the goats:" “And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left." "Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:"
Matthew 25:41 "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:"
According to this verse, every believer will give an account of himself, and the Lord will judge the decisions he made, including those concerning issues of conscience. That verdict is the only on that matters.
Paul affirmed the certainty of this event by quoting Isa_49:18 and Isa_45:23, pertaining to everyone standing before Christ and confessing Him as Lord (cf. Php_2:10-11). At that event each believer will give an account (lit., “a word”) of himself to God. Philippians 2:10 "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth;"
Isaiah 45:23 "I have sworn by myself, the word is one out of my mouth [in] righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear."
We can see, again, in these three Scriptures above that, God never changes. He is the same in Isaiah that He is in Romans.
We read in Revelation 1:7 "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they [also] which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen."
We must not wait to declare Him our Savior, until we can see Him with our physical eyes. We must accept Him by faith, not fact, to be saved.
Since Paul was writing to the Christians in Rome (Rom_1:7) and included himself with them in the first personal plural pronoun and verb (“we will all stand,” Rom_14:10), “God’s judgment seat” is only for believers in the Lord. What is here called God’s judgment seat is the judgment seat of Christ in 2Co_5:10. Jesus will judge us one at a time. Whether your mother or dad was saved will not matter. You will stand or fall by the decision you made about what you would do about Jesus.
II Timothy 4:1 "I charge [thee] therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;"
All believers in Christ will stand before His Throne in heaven.
Revelation 7:9 "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;"
These in white robes are the Christians who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb.
Because God judges through His Son (Joh_5:22, Joh_5:27), this judgment seat can be said to belong to both the Father and the Son. The issue of the believer’s eternal destiny will not be at stake; that was settled by his faith in Christ (cf. Rom_8:1). Each believer’s life of service will be under review in which some loss will be experienced (cf. 1Co_3:12-15), but he will be rewarded for what endures (cf. 1Co_4:4-5). This judgment of believers climatically demonstrates God’s lordship.

Romans 14:13-14

Without Hindering
Paul’s warning against judging relates to Christians’ attitudes and actions toward the convictions of other believers (Rom_14:1-12). The other side of the coin is evaluating the impact of one’s own convictions and actions on other Christians. In this section Paul warned against causing other Christians to stumble (hindering their spiritual growth) by asserting that one is free to live in accord with convictions not shared by other believers.
Paul’s opening sentence is both the final charge on the previous subject and the introduction to the new one: Therefore, let us stop passing judgment on (krinōmen, “condemning”) one another (pres. tense subjunctive, “no longer let us keep on judging or condemning one another”). Instead a Christian should judge himself and his actions so that he does not place a stumbling block (proskomma, lit., “something a person trips over”; cf. 1Co_8:9 and comments on Rom_14:20-21) or obstacle (skandalon, lit., “trap, snare,” and hence “anything that leads another to sin”; cf. Rom_16:17) in his brother’s way (lit., “to the brother”). It does no good at all for us to try to judge another, because we are not the Judge, Jesus is. We are told to judge not, lest ye be judged and, also, with whatever judgment we judge another we will be judged. We find a very good Scripture covering this in James 4:11
"Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of [his] brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge."
The Greek word translated “judge” is here translated “determine”. In verses 3, 10 and 13a the meaning is negative: to condemn. In 13b, the meaning is positive: to determine or make a careful decision.
The point of Paul’s play on words is that instead of passing judgment on their brothers, they should use their best judgment to help fellow believers. Anything a believer does, even though Scripture may permit it, that causes another to fall into sin by his going against his conscience, puts a stumbling block in his brother’s way.
Returning to the subject of food (Rom_14:2-3, Rom_14:6), Paul expressed his own conviction (cf. Rom_14:5) as a Christian that no food (lit., “nothing”) is unclean (koinon, “common”) in itself (cf. Act_10:15; Rom_14:20; 1Co_8:Cool. The problem, however, is that not all Christians — especially some from a Jewish heritage — shared Paul’s conviction. Therefore Paul properly concluded, But if anyone regards (lit., “but to the one reckoning”) something as unclean (“common”), then for him it is unclean (cf. Tit_1:15). We see here another illustration of the sin taking place in the heart and conscience. If we believe something to be sin and go ahead and do it anyway, then regardless of what it is, it is sin to us.

Titus 1:15 "Unto the pure all things [are] pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving [is] nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled."

Again, this is a very good example that the sin takes place when we do something feeling in our heart that it is displeasing to God. God judges the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
“Unclean”: The Greek word originally meant “common” but came to mean “impure” or “evil”. If a believer is convinced a certain behavior is sin, even if his assessment is wrong, he should never do it. If he does, he will violate his conscience, experience guilt and perhaps be driven back into deeper legalism instead of moving toward freedom.
But if someone persisted in holding that conviction, he could bring harm to others.
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Romans Chapter 14 – Part One
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