Romans 14 helps you find your way between being overly critical and overly tolerant.
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Romans 14 (ESV)
1 As for the one who is weak in faith,
but not to quarrel over opinions.
2 One person believes he may eat anything,
while the weak person eats only vegetables.
3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains,
and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats,
for God has welcomed him.
4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another?
It is before his own master that he stands or falls.
And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
5 One person esteems one day as better than another,
while another esteems all days alike.
Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.
6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats,
eats in honor of the Lord,
since he gives thanks to God,
while the one who abstains,
abstains in honor of the Lord
and gives thanks to God.
none of us lives to himself,
and none of us dies to himself.
if we live, we live to the Lord,
and if we die, we die to the Lord.
whether we live or whether we 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 Why do you pass judgment on your brother?
Or you, why do you despise your brother?
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 confess to God.”
12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
let us not pass judgment on one another any longer,
but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.
14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus
that nothing is unclean in itself,
but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.
if your brother is grieved by what you eat,
you are no longer walking in love.
By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.
16 So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil.
17 For the kingdom of God
is not a matter of eating and drinking
but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
18 Whoever thus serves Christ is
acceptable to God
and approved by men.
19 So then let us pursue
what makes for peace
and for mutual upbuilding.
20 Do not,
for the sake of food,
destroy the work of God.
Everything is indeed clean,
but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats.
21 It is good not
to eat meat or drink wine or do anything
that causes your brother to stumble.
22 The faith that you have,
keep between yourself and God.
Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves.
whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats,
because the eating is not from faith.
whatever does not proceed from faith
Romans 14 Summary
As a reminder, this letter to the Romans was written to a church comprised of two totally different types of people: Jews and Greeks, and each group had plenty of cultural baggage they thought was superior to the other's.
The Jews clung to Mosaic dietary laws and observed religious holidays, while the Greeks ate what they pleased whenever they pleased.
As members of the Church, our goal should not be to make everybody just like we are in every way, but rather to build up our fellow members in Christ. Instead of fighting battles over issues that have little overall importance, we must
pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding (v19).
There are two primary dangers we must navigate around in the church, which are at the opposite ends of the spectrum:
Being overly critical of how fellow Christians express their love for God;
Tolerating any and all behavior and ideas Christians have in their lives and worship.
It's important to note that Romans 14 only deals with the first of these two dangers. Although many try to claim it as such, this chapter does not endorse a live and let live attitude in the church in which everybody does what they think is right.
As you navigate the hyper-politicized environment we live in, keep two key teachings from this chapter in mind:
Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind (v5).
You have lots of opinions that you feel are right and that everyone else should agree with, but have you done the hard work of fully convincing yourself (both logically and theologically)?
Secondly, always remember
each of us will give an account of himself to God (v12).
It means very little what other people think of the way you live. Before trying to convince others that your opinions are superior, make sure your thoughts, actions and opinions hold water with God, knowing that's it's His judgment that matters.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The sovereign, holy God to which every knee will bow and every tongue will confess (v11)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask God for the strength you need to make every effort to do what leads to peace and to building one another up (v19)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: