omans 14: 1-23, the weak versus the strong in faith
VV 1-4, 1 Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. 2 For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. 3 Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. 4 Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.
Paul exhorts his audience, and us, to receive, and not to despise or judge those who are weak in faith, who eat only vegetables and no meat. We are not worthy to judge others for we are all sinners. One day we either stand or fall before God, the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, and perfect judge.
VV 5-6, 5 One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.
We are not to despise or judge weak Christians whose legalistic tendencies made them observe special days, or eat a special diet Observing or not observing special days and food habits will not affect a person’s spirituality.
VV 7-10, 7 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living. 10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
No one lives or dies to himself. Our lives do not belonged to us. We belonged to Christ who had redeemed us by His death and resurrection. We are not to judge other Christians because we all accountable to God, the perfect judge. Greek for judgment is “bema” which means tribunal. The bema seat judgment of Christ is for New Testament Christians from the Day of Pentecost until the day of rapture. This is not a judgment for sin but a tribunal judgment for rewards of faithful service.
2 Cor 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad”.
1 Cor 6: 19-20, ”Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s”.
VV 11-13, 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 shall give account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.
Paul exhorts his audience, and us, not to judge other Christians because we too will be judged on the bema seat judgment of Christ. We are to resolve disputes and not be a stumbling block to other Christians who are weak in faith.
Philippians 2:10-11, ”Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”.
VV 14-18, 14 I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.
The weak in faith would not eat food offered to idols. Paul exhorts his audience, and us, not to be a stumbling block to weak Christians by eating food offered to idols in front of them. The kingdom of God is not about what we eat or drink but experiencing peace, righteousness, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
1 Cor 8:8, ”But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do”.
VV 20-21, Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.
The weak in faith would not eat meat or drink wine. Paul exhorts his audience, and us, not to nullify the work of God for the sake of food and drink. We are not to be a stumbling block to weak Christians by eating meat and drinking wine in front of them.
1 Cor 8:13, “Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble”.
Heavenly Father, may we not to be a stumbling block to others by what we do, behave, speak, eat, or drink. May we not judge others as we too are under Your judgment, in Jesus’ name, Amen.