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BIBLE STUDY on the book of Romans
The fourteenth chapter will help settle some difficult questions that arise between the Jews and Gentiles respecting food and the observance of particular days, rites, etc. The converts to Christianity were from both Jews and Gentiles. There were many Jews in Rome; and it is probable that a large part of the church was Jews. The New Testament shows that they tried to bind the Gentile converts to their own customs, and to insist on the observance of the peculiar laws of Moses (Acts 15:1-2; Gal.2:3-4). The subjects on which questions of this kind would be troubling were circumcision, days of fasting, the distinction of meats, etc. Only a part of these are discussed in this chapter. The views of the apostle in regard to circumcision had been stated in Galatians ch.3.
The Weak and the Strong . . . Romans 14:1-23
Romans 14:1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. (KJV)
Accept Christians who are weak in the faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong.
Romans 14:2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. (KJV)
One person believes it is all right to eat anything. But another believer who has a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. Honor their decision, don’t ridicule them.
Romans 14:3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. (KJV)
Those who think it is all right to eat anything must not look down on those who won’t. And those who won’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them.
Romans 14:4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. (KJV)
Who are you to condemn God’s servants? They are responsible only to the Lord, so let Him tell them if they are right or wrong. The Lord will help them do as they should.
'Accept' means ‘to welcome’. People in the church should be kind to a Christian whose faith is weak. No one should judge another just because he has a different opinion on what they should eat. 1 Tim.4:3-5 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. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: 5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. (KJV) . . . Some Christians might decide to eat only vegetables. Many people at that time did not prepare meat in the proper Jewish way. So some Christians might not eat any meat. But that person should NOT argue with someone who eats meat.
For one man must not think that another man is not true to the faith. Some people feel free to eat whatever they choose. But they must not think that the ‘weak’ Christian is stupid. Paul gives two reasons in these verses why they must accept the weak Christian: #1. God has accepted him (verse 3). #2. That Christian is Christ’s servant. Only Christ, his master, can decide whether he is a loyal Christian. We have no right to judge another on what they can eat!
Romans 14:5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. (KJV)
And too, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is the same. Each person should have a personal conviction about this matter.
Romans 14:6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. (KJV)
Those who have a special day for worshiping the Lord are trying to honor Him. Those who eat all kinds of food also do it to honor the Lord, since they give thanks to God before eating. And those who won’t eat everything also want to please the Lord and give thanks to God. We must not judge others in this respect.
The ‘weak’ Christians wanted to have some special holy days in the calendar. For example, the new moon or the Sabbath (Col.2:16). It is not wrong to have special days for rest, prayer and worship. But Paul believed that every day is special. It is a gift of time from God and it is an opportunity to serve Him.
Some people eat whatever they like and thank God. Other people eat only what their conscience allows them to eat, but they also thank God for their food. So all these people are giving honor to God. Everyone must be sure that he does right things. ‘Whatever you choose to eat or to drink, do it all for the glory of God’ (1 Cor.10:31).
Romans 14:7-9 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. 8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. 9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. (KJV)
For we are not our own masters when we live or when we die. While we live, we live to please the Lord. And when we die, we go to be with the Lord. So in life and in death, we belong to the Lord. Christ died and rose again for this reason, so that He might be Lord of those who are alive and of those who have died.
Each Christian’s life affects other Christians around them. He should feel responsible towards them. He should not only think about himself.
Romans 14:10-12 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. 12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. (KJV)
We should not condemn another Christian. We should not look down on another Christian. For each of us will stand personally before the Judgment Seat one day; One on one with the Judge! For the Scriptures say, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me and every tongue will confess.” (Is.45:23). Each one of us will have to give a personal account to God. See Judgment Seat of Christ: . . . http://www.hisservants.org/judgment_seat_h_s.htm
Christ died and came back to life. So He is Lord of people who are dead. And He is Lord of people who are alive. He is the Lord of everyone.
The ‘weak in the faith’ Christian is also a servant of Christ (verse 1,4). So the ‘strong’ Christian should not accuse the ‘weak’ Christian. Everyone shall appear in front of Christ (GOD) for judgment. Paul uses words from Isaiah 45:23. In Philippians (2:10-11) Paul shows that everyone will have to respect Jesus as Lord. Here the words remind Christians that we ALL are responsible to God. We must be careful to help those Christians whose faith is weak. We should not hurt them by our unkind words or actions. Instead, we should love each other.
Romans 14:13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way. (KJV)
So do NOT condemn each other. Instead, live in such a way that you will not put an obstacle in another Christian’s path.
Romans 14:14-15 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. (KJV)
I know and am sure on the authority of the Lord Jesus that NO food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat. But if someone believes it is wrong, then for that person it is wrong. If another Christian is distressed by what you eat, you are not acting in love if you eat it. Do NOT let your eating ruin someone for whom Christ died.
Romans 14:16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of: (KJV)
Don’t let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil. Christians must not cause trouble for someone else because of their own personal opinion. They must not think that food and drink are more important than God’s Kingdom. To be a member of God’s Kingdom is NOT about food and drink. We must have a right relationship with God. Only then will the Holy Spirit give a person peace. He will give a Christian the power to have a calm and content relationship with other people. A Christian will show sympathy for another person’s opinion. A Christian will have joy when he makes other people happy.
Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. (KJV)
The Kingdom of God is NOT what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Mat. 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (KJV)
Romans 14:18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. (KJV)
If you serve Christ with a right attitude, coming from a right heart, you will please God. And other people will approve of you, too.
Romans 14:19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. (KJV)
We all should aim for harmony in the church, trying to build each other up, NOT tear each other down.
Romans 14:20 For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. (KJV)
Don’t destroy the work of God over what you eat. For, there is nothing wrong with these things in themselves. But it is wrong to eat anything if it makes another person stumble.
Romans 14:21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak. (KJV)
Don’t eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another Christian to stumble.
Romans 14:22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. (KJV)
You may have the faith to believe that there is nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between you and God. The person who does what he knows is right should not feel guilty. He actually is blessed.
Romans 14:23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. (KJV)
Any time a person has doubts about whether they should eat something, don’t eat it. They would be condemned for not acting in faith before God. Any time you do something you believe is wrong, you are sinning.
Paul includes himself by the word ‘us’ (verse 19). Christians must do everything possible to help others in love. A Christian must not do anything that will cause another Christian to sin. Paul mentions ‘wine’ as well as meat. Many Christians feel free to drink a little wine on social occasions. But some believe that they should not drink wine. The decision is yours. But do NOT over indulge with either food or drink!
Christians should always obey their own conscience. To act against one’s conscience, is in my opinion, a sin. That is because a Christian must always act in faith. We simply must trust God completely. Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Heb.11:6).
The Book of Romans
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