Romans Chapter Fourteen

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In our study of Romans chapter fourteen, we will look at the meaning of the term and what Paul taught about them. The term is commonly used to describe someone that sees themselves as better than their brothers & sisters in the faith. They usually base this perception on their observance of certain traditions or biblical laws.

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Romans 14:1

Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.

In chapter 13, we saw that our love for Christ and what He has done for us gives us the desire to obey Him. Jesus gave us instructions on following Him but there are also areas where He did not specifically prohibit or require an action on our part (grey areas). These grey areas are the "disputable matters" that Paul is talking about. He tells us that we are to accept those that don't see these grey areas the way that we do.

Romans 14:2

One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.

Here we see what Paul means by "him whose faith is weak" and it is not who we usually think. Paul tells us that the one that does not enjoy the freedom of eating everything is the one whose faith is weak. Why would he say that their faith is weak? The simple answer is they follow restrictions and religious sounding laws instead of being mature enough in their faith to realize that they are free to eat if they wish because of the fact that Jesus died to give us freedom from the Law.

Romans 14:3

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.

Here, we see what Paul means by accepting them and he simply tells us to allow the other person to embrace their freedom just as we claim our own. That is where the "super saints" come in because they see themselves as greater than others because of the way they interpret these traditions and religious laws.

Romans 14:4

Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

A servant reports to his master and gives an account of his actions. Paul is reminding Christians of that fact and the simple fact is that Jesus Christ is our master. We also see, here, another fact which is that we, who are in Christ, do not lose our salvation. Paul makes it abundantly clear that Jesus is sufficient to allow us to stand before a holy God in freedom. The fear that Christians have of stumbling and losing their salvation (like all other fears) does not come from God but from the enemy which is the devil. Many times, these so-called "super saints" are tools that Satan uses to spread fear to God's people as well as keeping the lost from accepting Jesus Christ.

Romans 14:5

One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.

Now, Paul uses an example from the Ten Commandments which included "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy". Today, like it was in Paul's day, the Jewish Sabbath was from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday. There were those that, after they came to Christ, thought that they should meet to worship at that time while others chose other days to meet. The same type of thing happens today but Paul tells us that we should listen to God and meet whenever He tells us to. This is what he means by being "fully convinced".

Romans 14:6

He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.

God loves it when His children listen to Him and He gives us freedom so that we don't have to worry about a list of rules or traditions. It is not the action or tradition that is special but the fact that we listen and follow the direction of our heavenly Father.

Romans 14:7 & 8

For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

If we are in Christ, we live with the very Spirit of God in us and we are not alone. God does not leave or abandon us based on our actions of following some rule or tradition. When we die, He does not abandon us because of our past actions but instead welcomes us to be with Him in the kingdom of heaven.

Romans 14:9 & 10

For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat.

Christ paid the price for all men at the same time and so He is the owner of the living (those that accept Him) as well as the dead (those who reject Him). Since Jesus is the owner of us all, He is the only one with the right to judge any of us. When Paul says that we ALL will stand before Him, that includes those so-called "super saints".

Romans 14:11 & 12

It is written: '"As surely as I live," says the Lord, "every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God."' So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Paul uses a quote from the prophet Isaiah to remind us all that God is the judge of all men. Everyone (whether they believe in Jesus or not) will bow before God on the last day and confess that He is Lord. Those that have accepted Christ will give an account of their words and actions in His name while those who are not will be cast away. This is just a little reminder that, in the end, we answer to God and not any man. Many of these "super saints" elevate themselves to the position of judge but God does not share His position with any man.

Romans 14:13

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put a stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.

The idea of a stumbling block has been misused many times by Christian leaders. It is often used in an attempt to keep people from some particular sin so that they will not drag someone else deeper into sin and away from God. As we see here, that is not what is meant by it at all. The meaning is the opposite in that it is talking about trying to apply your rules to other believers. This speaks of the legalism that Paul battled everywhere that he went. This has contributed to many people believing that they must somehow clean themselves up a bit before they can come to Christ or feeling discouraged because they don't appear to be a super saint.

Romans 14:14 & 15

As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died.

Paul understood that our freedom in Christ gives us the ability to eat anything and be thankful. But, he also knew that there were those who did not completely understand what they had in Christ but, nevertheless, were attempting to live out what they knew. Paul tells us here (as well as in his letter to the Corinthian church) that we restrain our freedom out of love for our weaker brother. This restraint of his freedom in Christ is what Paul was talking about when he said "I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some."

Romans 14:16-18

Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. 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.

Paul recognized the Spirit when he was spoken to and did not let anyone try to tell him something else. Everywhere he went, people were attempting to mix legalism with Christ and he did not tolerate it. He goes on to describe the kingdom of God and it is simply God's children listening to Him through the Spirit and standing firm on what he tells them. This is faith and the basis for our righteousness and not any religious tradition or law. The peace that he speaks of is our peace with God in that there is no longer any condemnation towards us as we are His children. This freedom from worry (blessing) brings with it joy and others can see it in us as we walk with Christ.

Romans 14:19-21

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.

We are called to build each other up in the faith and that starts by accepting one another where we are at in our walk with Christ. That includes limiting our freedom in Christ out of love for others.

Romans 14:22

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.

Instead of arguing with brothers and sisters concerning these things, we are to keep it to ourselves. The Greek word used for "blessed" is makarias and it gives the sense of someone who is secure and does not need to worry about anything. If we are secure in the fact that we are saved by God's grace and not through works, then, we do not have to worry about the condemnation that comes through the law. God does not condemn us and so we do not need to condemn ourselves and worry about losing our salvation.

Romans 14:23

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.

The man who has doubts speaks of the one that has accepted Jesus Christ but does not understand the freedom that is granted by His grace. If this man goes ahead and eats, then, his spirit will condemn him for his action as he will feel guilt. That is why most times a so-called "super saint" will not be walking around with joy. They are constantly battling the doubts about what they can and cannot do instead of praising God for the freedom that they have.

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