Hello friends. My bible reading today was so good I had to write down notes and share it here. I pray that it will bless you like it did me. Also, I’ve been thinking about writing a series of notes on Romans. Not sure yet, but you’ll be hearing from me again, soon.
Romans 14, The Law of Liberty & The Law of Love
(It would be best if you read the entire chapter first, before going through my notes. They’ll make more sense once you’ve read through it.)
1“Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things.” Paul goes on to cite an example dispute about food and eating. Basically, to one person, some stuff are bad. To another, the same stuff are good. My first question, then is: which brother is doing the right thing?!
Apparently, the Lord accepts both.
This does not only apply to food. Clean and unclean food is considered one of these doubtful things. Are there more? How do we know?
Let’s backtrack to Deuteronomy 14. Verse 3 & 4, Clean and Unclean Meat: “You shall not eat any detestable thing. These are the animals which you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat…” This Word came from the Lord. How did Paul consider this as a doubtful dispute?
For one, God’s Word is true and His law is holy.
What is doubtful today is whether we understand the significance of Jesus’ death or not. Jesus fulfilled the law on our behalf and set us forever free, completely from the demands of the law and righteous judgement of God.
“Just because Jesus died doesn’t mean we could start eating shrimp!” one would say. “No, because Jesus died, we can now eat shrimp!“, said another. This is where we have doubts.
And no, it’s not just about food. 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.” Another example by Paul.
What then shall we do? (Always the question of man: What can I do?)
12“So then, each of us shall give account of himself to God.13Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling-block or a cause of offence in our brother’s way.”
Okay, we can do that. Let’s not judge one another. Let them do what they want. Right? Oh but what’s this about putting a stumbling block or causing offence?
Paul continues 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.15Yet, 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.”
Here, we have get a contradiction. If we’ve already established that both clean and unclean food is alright, how, then are we destroying our brothers with our food? (I’m sure it’s not a food war or something.)
To further magnify the confusion, Paul says 17“for the kingdom of God is not food and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
For the kingdom of God is not food and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. – Romans 14:17
Let’s dissect this and see what we’re missing, yeah?
How does a man destroy his brother by what he eats? Surely, we can ignore brother and let him deal with it. It’s his problem, right? I eat what I want.
Of course by doing this, we become the stumbling-block. And we can’t blame brother because he doesn’t know. But, we do.
See here, brother takes offence because of his misinterpretation of what the kingdom of God is. To him, it is food and drink. Or has something to do with it, at least. Seeing us enjoying the life, doing what he thinks is wrong, brother will be grieved.
What we are to do, then, is to make known to our brothers that, back to Romans 14:17 “The kingdom of God is not food and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
If brother understands this, he won’t take offence anymore. Because,22“Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.”