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Chapter 14

Commentary by Tom Brown


Rom 14:1-23
1 Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.
disputable matters. There are some matters not clearly defined for us in Scripture. Those matters must be left to the individual consciences.
2 One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. Current disputable matters are drinking, day of worship, clothing, birth control, discipline of ministers, etc. These matters must be left with the believers, and for situations involving the church, each local church should decide how they should handle such matters. These matters are not left best in the hands of an ecclesiastical board that ushers edicts. The Apostle Paul found tolerance of differences to be the best method for handling disputable matters.

faith is weak. Should be be understood as "sensitive" faith, not weak in the sense of inferior.

3 The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. look down. Do not despise a believer who has a sensitive conscience.

must not condemn. Do not censure a believer who has more freedom.

4 Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. Who are you? Very strong words to remind against judging.

Lord is able to make him stand. Paul shows his optimism.

5 One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. fully convinced in his own mind. You do not need to convince others, but only yourself.
6 He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. He gives everyone reasons to rejoice in what they approve or disapprove of.
7 For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. none of us lives to himself alone. No one belong to themselves only. Each belongs to the Lord and to one another.
8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. we belong to the Lord. A lie many people believe is, "Itís my life! I can do what I want." Truth is, "My life belongs to God!" So the person who has freedom exercises his freedom not because it is his life but because his life belongs to the Lord.
9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.  
10 You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. we will all stand before God's judgment seat. Paul reminds both the man who has freedom and the man who is sensitive that they will be accountable to God for how they handled such matters.
11 It is written: "'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.'" every knee will bow...every tongue will confess. This should not be construed to teach universal salvation, but instead it teaches universal judgment.
12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. each of us. Paul makes the final judgment to be personal and private. You will stand before God without others listening and giving their input.

give an account. This is similar to an audit. Just as the IRS may demand receipts, check stubs, or proof of expenditures, so God will expect you to explain what, how, and why you did what you did. It is an accounting, and will be very detailed. This should make us sober.

13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way. stumbling block.  Do not make the weak stumble. You may have the freedom to drink wine, but if your freedom causes your brother to stumble into alcoholism, God will hold you accountable.

obstacle. Do not make coming to Christ an obstacle course for others. If you put too many rules on seekers then they may be hindered from coming to Christ, and God will hold you accountable.

14 As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. Paul ultimately takes the view of those who have freedom in Christ, yet he does not set himself above the brother who is sensitive. In fact he even goes as far as saying that if the sensitive brother tries to act like the brother who has freedom, then his acting will be considered sin.
15 If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. acting in love. The believer has no law except the law of love. Love should move us in freedom and in sensitivity.
16 Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. Make a stand for what you believe.
17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, The rules do not really matter. It is the operation of the Holy Spirit in our lives that really counts.
18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. pleasing to God and approved by men.  We should be concern both with what pleases God and what man approves of.  Men do not have to fully approve of your actions, but God must fully agree with your actions. We do not please men but we look for approval. It is important that we maintain a good reputation with the world. The average person generally like a more moderate view, rather than too conservative or too liberal.
19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. every effort. It takes hard work to make peace and edification happen.
20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. Do not destroy the work of God. The work of God is the preaching of the gospel. All decisions that people and church boards make should be based on what would be best for the advancement of the gospel. Excommunicating members, suspending others from the ministry, establishing a dress code, and other such things, should be the last resorts and should only be implemented if these actions would further the gospel.
21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall. A person with freedom should not exercise his freedom if others are offended.
22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves.  
23 But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin. everything that does not come from faith is sin. This statement should be the all inclusive test to determine what is allowable by God. If you cannot do something without feeling guilty, then do not do it.

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