Friday, February 8, 2008

Romans 14 (NLT)

Been pondering on this chapter of Romans for a few days now. It seems to hit on questions about Old Testament law observance, how to determine right from wrong in areas that can often seem about samantics; if one is convicted of something - should ALL be convicted of it, and if you're not convicted of it, does that mean you don't have to CARE about those that are; is Sunday the sabbath or not, is it unholy because it's not Orthodox Judaism; and still leaves me pondering the balance between loving God's laws and legalism, but Paul seems to lay it out pretty plainly here.

Romans 14
The Danger of Criticism

1 Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. 2 For instance, one person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. 3 Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? They are responsible to the Lord, so let him judge whether they are right or wrong. And with the Lord’s help, they will do what is right and will receive his approval.

5 In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable. 6 Those who worship the Lord on a special day do it to honor him. Those who eat any kind of food do so to honor the Lord, since they give thanks to God before eating. And those who refuse to eat certain foods also want to please the Lord and give thanks to God. 7 For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves. 8 If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 Christ died and rose again for this very purpose—to be Lord both of the living and of the dead.

10 So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For the Scriptures say,
“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,

‘every knee will bend to me,
and every tongue will confess and give praise to God.’”

12 Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. 13 So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.

14 I know and am convinced on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat. But if someone believes it is wrong, then for that person it is wrong. 15 And if another believer is distressed by what you eat, you are not acting in love if you eat it. Don’t let your eating ruin someone for whom Christ died. 16 Then you will not be criticized for doing something you believe is good. 17 For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. 19 So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.

20 Don’t tear apart the work of God over what you eat. Remember, all foods are acceptable, but it is wrong to eat something if it makes another person stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble. 22 You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God. Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right. 23 But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.


His Girl said...

paul sure knew how to preach it, didn't he?

yes, it reaches to my heart and tries to untangle the web of earthly understanding on a matter so deeply spiritual and wholly personal that i cannot begin to explain.

here's what I know. God is good. all the time. And part of how I know that is because of the work I see him do in you.

thanks for taking us with you on this little trip!

Gretchen said...

Love this post and I definitely cling to the fact that if "the worst of sinners" (his words,not mine) can be saved by grace that I can be, too. Living with a husband who is not exactly on the same faith page really makes it imperative that I take the old plank out of my eye before clearing his speck, and to tread lightly, if at all in the holier than thou department.

I'll be back tomorrow to see your plethora of posts. My, a busy girl you are. :)

Jenster said...

This post reminds me of His Girl's post about her son wanting to see the movie. When my son got to a certain age and I wouldn't allow him to see a movie all his friends were allowed to see, "even the good Christian friends", he would say, "Joe's parents are Christians. Are you saying you're better than they are?" (yes - a bit of a smarty pants, wasn't he?) This was the scripture I would pull out. Basically they hadn't been convicted of something I had been.

Sometimes I have to remind myself of this when I start getting a bit judgmental. Not that I'm EVER judgmental, but if I were, I'd pull out this scripture. Yeah. That's it!

Jenn said...

I love that we are all individuals in Christ and we are to live by the convictions that He gives each of us. A few years ago I did not get this and inwardly I would be very judgmental of others who did not share my convictions. It is not my place to convict others - God will bring them there if and when he is ready.

Thanks for sharing this passage - what a great reminder.