Verse of the Day Devotion: Romans 14:1

“Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.” – Romans 14:1 

One thing I have learned in my many years of being a Christian and sharing the word is that there are some who find it hard to give up old beliefs that they have followed for many, many years.  This is what Paul is referring to in this passage.  Let us look at verse 2 as an example.  “One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only.”.  Romans 14:2. What we see here is a difficulty in understanding that there are no such things as unclean foods within the Christian belief system that matches the Jewish Mosaic law.  This does not mean that the belief either way is wrong.  What it does show is that both are trying to do the right thing.

Paul addressed this well in verse 3.  “The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him.” Romans 14:3. As long as neither is sinful within the Christian framework, then there should be no arguing regarding doctrine.  If you choose only to eat vegetables, then that is ok.  If you choose to eat goat meat, then that is fine too.  Neither side is sinning by their choice.  The point Paul makes here is found a couple verses down.  “He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God.” Romans 14:6. If you are thanking God for the food and giving Him the honor and glory, then that is what counts.  We are not to judge one another in these areas. But do not put a stumbling block in his way as well.  In other words, do not do what another deems sinful in their presence.

This is done so that the ‘weaker’ person, the one who is not as learned in this walk and has beliefs that they find difficult to give up, will not see you sinning, as he sees it, and condemn you either openly or in his mind.  As he says starting in verse 16, “Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Romans 14:16-17.  For God approves and I believe delights in this behavior.

Therefore, when you come across someone who finds your actions as disobedience or sin, which in actuality is not in the Christian belief system, go ahead and abstain in his presence.  “So, we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.” Romans 14:19. Why have division and conflict when it can be easily averted?  Is an action or behavior more important than unity of the brethren?  I would say no.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

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