The Weak and the Strong - Romans 14

The Weak and the Strong

Romans 14:1-23

Romans 14 is not about the saved and the unsaved, or the carnal and the spiritual.  It deals with Christians, those who are weak in the faith and those who are strong.  The latter are exhorted, "Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things."  Romans 14:1.  Those whom God has received, we should also welcome with open arms.

When someone comes to Christ, he brings not only his sins, but also some baggage in the form of preconceived ideas often shaped by customs, culture, and previous religious upbringing.  The sins are forgiven, but personal opinions remain unchanged in certain areas. 

Christians are often judgmental of others.  At the church of Rome there were disputes over what was appropriate to eat.  "For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables."  Romans 14:2.  Animal sacrifices were offered to idols.  The meat often wound up in the local meat market, and was indistinguishable from other meat.  Some believers ate meat regardless, and others in good conscience refused.

A second dispute was over the observation of days.  "One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike."  Jewish converts to the Christian faith esteemed the Sabbath above other days.  Others believed that the Lord's Day was the appropriate day for religious observance.  Still others believed that a specific day of the week wasn't important, that every day was God's day.

The truth is that these secondary, peripheral issues don't matter.  "For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.  For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord.  Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's."  Romans 14:7, 8.  He is Lord of both the weak and the strong.

Christians have no business judging others, especially those who are weak in the faith.  "Who are you to judge another man's servant?  To his own master he stands or falls."  Romans 14:4.  Jesus said, "Judge not, that you be not judged."  Matthew 7:1.

The Lord is the Judge.  "But why do you judge your brother?  Or why do you show contempt for your brother?  For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ."  Romans 14:10.  "So then each of us shall give account of himself to God."  Romans 14:12.

When you stand before the Lord in that day, you will not be judged for what someone else did.  It won't matter whether or not that brother that you criticized ate meat or vegetables, or  worshipped God on Saturday or Sunday.  You'll be judged on the basis of what you did.

It behooves us to walk in love, and "pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify (or build up) another."  Romans 14:19.  "Do you have faith?  Have it to yourself before God.  Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves."  Romans 14:22.  Don't let your convictions become a stumbling block, causing a weak brother to fall.  Are you strong in the faith?  Then the Lord expects you to carry the heavier end of the load, and demonstrate your maturity and strength. 

The basic question that we need to ask ourselves is this: Is Jesus Christ the Lord of my life?

 

Lord, keep us from petty differences.  Help us to lift up and build up the fallen.  Thank You for receiving us.  Teach us to remain focused on those things that really matter.  In Jesus' name.  Amen!

 

The Greatest Missionary - Romans 15

 
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