Searching the Scriptures
“Search the Scriptures…for they are they which testify of Me”. John 5:39
Author: Bob Moses
Romans Chapter 14
This Chapter is summed up by the phrase; Judge not, condemn not. Its premise is to remain neutral and not a hindrance to others who do not necessarily see things the same way you do. You will also note that the term man and brother are used a lot in this Study. These terms take in women as well. The same with brother, it is of both brothers and sisters of which we speak. Equally so, when we use him and he, these are also are to be construed as both men and women. We are speaking primarily toward the whole brotherhood of man, but especially of Christians, although not necessarily in any sense of exclusivity.
Verse 1: “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations”. In other words, do not judge his thoughts nor become argumentative for he is obviously weak in his understanding of the word. Let us refer to 1 Corinthians Ch 8; Vs 9: (paraphrase), Take heed that you do not become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. Vs. 2 & 3: “For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eatheth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth; for God hath received him.” What Paul is saying here is who cares? What difference does it make? If God has accepted you and you stand upon your faith in Him, does it really matter what we eat or do not eat? It is not what goes into a man’s mouth that defiles a man, but rather what comes out. Some will proclaim, but Brother Bob, don’t you remember back in the Old Testament, that God instructed the Jews as to what they could and could not eat under the Law? Of course I remember. However, I would arrest this notion by pointing out that in the Old Testament record of which you speak, God was dealing with the nation of Israel, delivering unto them the Law which they had demanded from him. Today we are Christians, not Jews, we are under Grace, not the Law, and we are the bride of Christ and a part of His Body. Two entirely different dispensations: A dispensation is a point in time when God deals with his creation in different manners, particularly as it relates to man and his obedience unto the will of God; such as the Law verses Grace. The day of the Law was under Moses, the day of Grace is under Jesus the Christ. This is why so many differences are discovered from the Old Testament to the New Testament, yet they coincide perfectly in their harmony and message. Remember the Holy Bible is God’s “Love Letter” to his children. It was written by him to us, as a guide for us, during our journey upon this earth.
Vs. 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.” Again, who are you to judge the servant of another man? The servant must answer to his master, for it is his master who must determine if the servant is obeying his will. Reading between the lines, who is your master? God will determine if you are performing in accordance to his will, it does not matter what others may think. God will hold you up in the last day. He will be the one to help you stand, not your neighbor, not your Sunday school teacher, nor even your pastor. It does not matter, what others observe. The question is are you about your father’s business, are you fulfilling his will in your daily walk?
Vs. 5: “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded (or assured) in his own mind.” I have no doubt that Paul is referring here to the day of worship. Yes, this was a bone of contention even back in Paul’s day, because the Jews, Gentiles and Christians all had different opinions as to the day of worship. Some said it is Saturday, some Sunday. Again, what does it matter? God is not concerned about the day or the time of your worship and prayer. It is sufficient that you take the time to meditate upon him and his blessings in your life. To be humble and seek his will in your daily walk, to pray for others, and attempt to be more “Christ-like” in all that you do.
Vs. 6: “He that regardeth (or observes) 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.” This is the same message which has previously engaged our attention. What we eat or when we worship is of no special import to God; what does matter is that we do so and give him the praise and glory.
Vs. 7—9: “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. 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. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.” Christ reigns supreme. God is still on his throne. Whether we live or die, whether we eat meat or herbs, whether we set aside Saturday or Sunday for our day of worship is not something for man to judge. It is you and your relationship with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit with which you must search your heart. Are you persuaded that you are doing what he would have you do? It matters not what any other man may think, or say, or challenge.
Vs. 10—13; “But why dost thou judge thy brother? Or why does thou set at nought thy brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, as I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then, every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another anymore; but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.” This instruction is very solemn. Do not concern yourself with your brother and what he does or doesn’t do. You need to be more focused upon the importance of what you do or do not do. For it is you that must stand before Christ at the last day and give account for your own conduct, not what you thought of your fellow man. You will not stand there as a judge of others, but rather naked as a result of your own behavior. And further, insure that you do not hinder your fellow man in his quest toward God. In all probability you are each on a different path, therefore why place obstacles before one another? Our highway to heaven is difficult enough. We do not need a brother laying entrapments and diversions through criticisms and objections along our way. Follow your heart and your intuition as to God’s influence and direction in your life, and resist the faultfinding of others.
Vs. 14—16: “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. But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. (be benevolent, merciful or lenient). Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. Do not be contentious or argumentative to provoke him to anger. This is what is meant by do not destroy him. Anger or hard feeling can hurt a man as easily as anything. (Christ died for that man also). Let not then your good be evil spoken of:” The essence of this passage is to be understanding. Do not offend your brother. If what you do bothers him, then while in his presence do not do it. Thus your good, and being mindful of his feelings, places you in a position where no one could speak evil of you.
Vs. 17—19: “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” Instead of finding fault with your brother or fellow man; seek righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost in your relationship with your brother. For by seeking the good in him, you serve Christ and become acceptable to God, and therefore approved by that brother. Therefore, lift one another up, support him in his short-comings, and nurture him in the ways of the Lord. As the eunuch said to the apostle, how can I learn unless a man teach me?
Vs. 20 & 21: “For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. 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.” All things given to man by God are pure, but if a brother who is weak finds fault or is offended by what you might eat, drink or do, then cease from that activity while you are with him. Honor his feelings and do not covet your own wants and desires. Surely you can suspend and curtail your own conduct to satisfy the need of another. This is what is meant by “For meat destroy not the work of God”. God will deal with his own in the way he sees fit. If thy brother is happy, if he is learning and faithful in his quest to find Gods favor, who are you to come along and shatter that relationship by spreading doubt and planting seeds of anguish. You are destroying the work of God in that mans life.
Vs. 22 & 23: “Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” If you are comfortable with your faith, and feel that what you are doing is satisfactory with God, then it is not a sin. If however you feel that you are sinning against God, then you are damned unto yourself, for you know that in your heart you are doing wrong. If you are performing with true faith, then you are pardoned. If what you say and do are outside of faith, then it is sin.
Subconsciously we all have a guidepost. Our heart tells us if we are doing right or wrong. This falls under the threefold nature of man; the body, soul and spirit. The body is the outer or carnal man from whence we have the five senses; sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch. These are for our bodily functions. The soul is the psyche or natural man. From these we have imagination, conscience, memory, reason, and affections. The spirit is the innermost or spiritual part of man. The spirit is that part which interacts toward God. It is made of up faith, hope, reverence, prayer and worship. This is what Paul was referring to in Hebrews. 4:12, “The Word of God is quick (alive) 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 (body), and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” It is from the spirit that we obtain faith for this is the gift of God. Therefore as Paul tells us in Rom. 14: 23: “for whatsoever, is not of faith is sin.”
Perhaps we can get into a “Study” of the threefold nature of man at another time. The bottom line of this Chapter 14 of Romans is that we may conduct ourselves in whatever method we feel is in concert with God’s will and way in our lives. This does not give us liberty, however, to become a stumblingblock to our fellow man. Quite the contrary; we are to yield ourselves to our brothers’ understanding. We are to lift him up, and nurture him in the ways of our Lord. Not with a heavy hand but by gentle persuasion. How can he learn unless another teach him? Our own faith will hold us steadfast in our daily walk and our interaction with those whom we encounter each day. Perhaps it is you or I who needs the further nuturing and we need the guidance of another for better understanding. Judge not, condemn not.
May God bless you and provide you discernment in this wonderful
Chapter of Roman 14.