In our study of Romans chapter fourteen, we will look at the meaning of the term super saints 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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Now as for a person whose trust is weak, welcome him - but not to get into arguments over opinions.
In chapter 13, we saw that our love for Messiah and what he has done for us gives us the desire to obey him. Yeshua 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.
One person has the trust that will allow him to eat anything, while another whose trust 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 Yeshua died to give us freedom from the Law.
The one who eats anything must not look down on the one who abstains; and the abstainer must not pass judgment on the one who eats anything, because 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.
who are you to pass judgment on someone else's servant? It is before his own master that he will stand or fall; and the fact is that he will stand, because 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 Yeshua Messiah 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 Yeshua 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 Yeshua Messiah.
One person considers some days more holy than others, while someone else regards them as being all alike. What is important is for each to 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".
He who observes a day as special does so to honor the Lord. Also he who eats anything, eats to honor the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; likewise the abstainer abstains to honor the Lord, and he too 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.
For none of us lives only in relation to himself, and none of us dies only in relation to himself; for if we live, we live in relation to the Lord; and if we die, we die in relation 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.
indeed, it was for this very reason that the Messiah died and came back to life, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living. You then, why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For all of us will stand before God's judgment seat;
Yeshua Messiah 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 Yeshua 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".
since it is written in the Tanakh, "As I live, says ADONAI, every knee will bend before me, and every tongue will publicly acknowledge God." So then, every one of us will have to 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 Yeshua 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.
Therefore, let's stop passing judgment on each other! Instead, make this one judgment - not to put a stumbling block or a snare in a 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 Yeshua Messiah or feeling discouraged because they don't appear to be a super saint.
I know - that is, I have been persuaded by the Lord Yeshua the Messiah - that nothing is unclean in itself. But if a person considers something unclean, then for him it is unclean; and if your brother is being upset by the food you eat, your life is no longer one of love. Do not, by your eating habits, destroy someone for whom the Messiah 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."
Do not let what you know to be good, be spoken of as bad; for the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, shalom and joy in the Ruach HaKodesh. Anyone who serves the Messiah in this fashion both pleases God and wins the approval of other people.
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.
So then, let us pursue the things that make for shalom and mutual upbuilding. Don't tear down God's work for the sake of food. True enough, all things are clean; but it is wrong for anybody by his eating to cause someone to fall away. What is good is not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.
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.
The belief you hold about such things, keep between yourself and God. Happy the person who is free of self-condemnation when he approves of something!
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.
But the doubter comes under condemnation if he eats, because his action is not based on trust. And anything not based on trust is a sin.
The man who has doubts speaks of the one that has accepted Yeshua Messiah 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.