Tag: righteous peace and joy.
Scripture reading for July 31st: Romans 14:1-23
The body of Christ is composed of people from different walks of life and different spiritual experience. Some come from religious backgrounds. Others come with no spiritual training and are eager to learn what is expected. Paul knew that the church at Rome was very diverse, with many Jews and Gentiles of different backgrounds. He wrote to help them understand how to practice the command of Jesus to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Romans 13:9-10)
“Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 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. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant?” (Romans 14:1-4a) We enter into pride when we judge someone else. Some matters, such as eating meat sacrificed to idols, are disputable. The strong person knows that the idol is nothing and that the meat is made clean by prayer and thanksgiving. The weaker person may feel polluted by the meat and believe that they have sinned by eating it. As long as what they do is motivated by their faith, neither one is to judge the other and cause disunity or division over eating meat! It is not loving to bring strife over matters like this.
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.” (Romans 14:17-18) The Holy Spirit wants to lead us in loving our brothers and sisters, not in judging them on matters of conscience that are not clearly dealt with in Scripture. We can please God by walking in love and faith that God will deal with each person according to their faith.
“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. 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.” (Romans 14:22-23) Be quiet and live by faith!