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 Romans Chapter 14 – Part Two

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Male Number of posts : 250
Age : 68
Location : Northern Arizona
Registration date : 2009-01-12

PostSubject: Romans Chapter 14 – Part Two   Wed Nov 05, 2014 5:14 pm

Romans 14:15-18

How should a Christian whose convictions allow him to eat everything respond to one with scruples against certain foods? In Christian love he ought to forgo his liberty in Christ to avoid being a spiritual hindrance to his spiritual brother. If he persists in exercising his liberty so that his brother is distressed (lypeitai, “grieved, hurt”), Paul concluded, then the Christian exercising his liberty is no longer acting (lit., “walking”) in love. Such persistence could cause the spiritual destruction of a brother for whom Christ died. I Corinthians 8:11-12 "And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?" "But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ."
Paul tells just how important it is not to lead our weak brothers and sisters astray.
I Corinthians 8:13: "Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend."
This is some very good advice from Paul. We must not let our liberty in the Lord cause us to encourage someone else to go against their conscience.
Love will ensure that the strong Christian is sensitive and understanding of his brother’s weaknesses.
Destroy renders the word apollye, which often means eternal ruin. Here it may mean temporal ruin; a Christian forced to act contrary to his scruples, even though more strict than necessary, may find himself ruined by his wounded conscience (cf. 1Co_8:10-12). Persisting in one’s freedom could also result in his Christian liberty (what you consider good) being blasphemed (spoken of as evil, blasphēmeisthō). The stronger brother might destroy his testimony. The stronger brother says his liberty comes from God, but the weaker brother says it comes from Satan. True spirituality is not shown in the manifestation of liberty, but in the manifestation of the Spirit. True liberty may be shown by refraining from the exercise of one’s liberty. The stronger brother might disrupt the peace of the body, so he should forgo his liberty in the interest of peace in the assembly.
Such things should not happen. After all, food is not that important an issue (1Co_8:Cool; it is not the sum and substance of the kingdom of God. But… righteousness (upright living), peace (cf. Rom_12:16, Rom_12:18; Rom_14:19) and joy in (the sphere of) the Holy Spirit (cf. Rom_15:13) are essentials of Christian fellowship and harmony. I Corinthians 8:8 "But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse."
Galatians 5:22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,"
What all three of these Scriptures are saying is that the abundance of the things God has entrusted to us do not make us right with Him. The blessings that really count are the gifts of the Spirit that He entrusts us with.
“Joy in the Holy Ghost”: Another part of the Spirit’s fruit, this describes an abiding attitude of praise and thanksgiving regardless of circumstances, which flows from one’s confidence in God’s sovereignty.
A concerned believer insists on right conduct, harmony, and joy rather than forcing his own lifestyle on others. As a result the Christian who serves (pres. participle, douleuōn, “who keeps on serving as a slave”) Christ in this way — in Christian love, pursuing righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit — is pleasing (cf. Rom_12:1; Rom_15:1; Heb_13:21) to God and approved by men (in contrast with being evil spoken of, Rom_14:16). James 2:18 "Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works." James 2:19 "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." James 2:20 "But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?"
God expects us to use the gifts of the Spirit that He gives us. The power of the Holy Spirit is given for a reason. The reason is to make us more effective workers for God. It explains it perfectly in Acts 1:8
"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."
“Approved of men”: Christians are under the microscope of a skeptical world that is assessing how they live with and treat each other.

Romans 14:19-21

Continuing his emphasis on not hindering another Christian’s spiritual life, Paul urged his readers, Let us therefore make every effort (lit., “Let us keep on pursuing”) to do what leads to peace (lit., “the things of peace”; cf. Rom_14:17) and to mutual edification (lit., “and the things of building up one another”; cf. Rom_15:2; 1Th_5:11). Edify means confirming or building. In other words, instead of tearing someone down, build them up.
To Paul food and one’s personal convictions about it were not so important as the spiritual health of a fellow Christian and the work of God. Therefore it is wrong to insist on one’s personal freedom in Christ concerning food (all food is clean; cf. Rom_14:14, “no food is unclean”) and drink if it causes someone else to stumble (proskommatos, “a stumbling block”; cf. Rom_14:13, Rom_14:21). We touched on this earlier, but will just say again, here, that if the man thinks it is sin to eat whatever this is, then it is sin for him. He would be sinning against his conscience.
“that man who eateth with offence”, is speaking of the man who eats and gives offense. He is the one who uses his god given liberties carelessly and selfishly, offending his weaker brother.
Meat or drink or anything else should be put aside if it causes a brother to fall (proskoptei, “stumble”; cf. proskomma, in Rom_14:13, Rom_14:20). At times one’s Christian liberty must be relinquished for the sake of others. We see here, again, that whatever it takes to set a good example before our weaker brothers and sisters in Christ is what we should do. If they think it is sin to eat something, then in their presence we should not eat it either; just because they would feel we were sinning and if they end up eating, we are causing them to sin.
As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Everything is permissible — but not everything is constructive” (1Co_10:23). And “be careful… that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak” (1Co_8:9).

Romans 14:22-23

Concerning personal convictions in areas where different views exist, Paul concluded, So whatever you believe about these things (lit., “The faith that you have,” or “Do you have faith?”) keep between yourself and God. A Christian must not insist on influencing a believer with tighter scruples to change his ways. Paul urges the strong believer to understand his liberty, enjoy it, and keep it between God and himself. The strong believer maintains a healthy conscience because he does not give a weak believer a cause to stumble.
It should be something “in his own mind” (Rom_14:5), for he lives “to the Lord” (Rom_14:Cool. Paul considered a Christian like himself who had a clear conscience on such matters blessed (lit., “happy”). On the other hand, a Christian who has doubts is condemned (perf. pass. verb, “stands condemned”) if he eats. If a Christian eats food or does anything when he has doubts in his own mind as to whether it is right or wrong before God (one who is “weak” in faith, Rom_14:1-2), his action does not spring from (ek, “out of”) his faith or trust in God and is therefore wrong. As Paul generalized, Everything that does not come from (ek, “out of”) faith is sin. This has to do with more than just food. Everything we do must be done through faith.
Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Abraham's faith was counted unto him as righteousness. This is true for us, as well.
Hebrews 11:6 "But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
The strongest Christian can bring harm to himself in the area of Christian liberty by denouncing or belittling the freedom God has given him, or by carelessly flaunting his liberty without regard for how that might affect others.
When the weak brother violates his conscience, he sins as “whatsoever is not of faith”, meaning the thoughts and actions that his conscience condemns. (which may be perfectly acceptable by God in others)
The principle is, “When in doubt, don’t.” The “strong” Christian (Rom_15:1) is wrong if he causes a weak brother to sin (by doing something while doubting, Rom_14:20), and a weak brother (Rom_14:1-2) who goes against what he doubts also sins (Rom_14:23).
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Romans Chapter 14 – Part Two
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