Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. (Romans 14:13-15 ESV)
So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. (Romans 14:19 ESV)
It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. (Romans 14:21 ESV)
But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. (Romans 14:23 ESV)
Paul continues to show us how we are to live as a Christian shaped by the gospel. Whereas in the previous chapter he points out how we should relate with the authorities outside the church (and by implication all authorities), this chapter he points out how we are to relate with others in the church whose faith is weaker. We are not to pass judgment on them for not having the same Christian liberties that we might enjoy, particularly when it comes to food, drink, and special days. In the pagan culture of the Roman empire, meat from the market often came from pagan sacrifices. Some Christians, thus, did not want to eat it. Other Christians simply saw the meat as a gift from God regardless of where it came from. Neither is to judge the other. In fact, the one should refrain from eating such meat in the presence of the other so as not to give him reason to stumble. For if you can’t do something in good conscience by faith, then it is better to refrain. The same can be applied to drinking alcohol (I.e. wine) or other similar kinds of things. The point is that we are brothers and sisters in the Lord seeking to build each other up and edify each other rather than point fingers and create division over things related to Christian liberty.
Do you ever find yourself looking down at other Christians who do not have the same liberties as you?
McCheyne’s Bible Reading Plan: 1 Sa 16, Ro 14, Lam 1, Lk 21