If he has also trusted in Jesus for eternal life. So as we read Rom.14 we need to understand the context to be sure we do not mistakenly come to wrong conclusions about it's meaning. We need to understand these things from the mindset of those Paul was writing to and about. Jewish believers.
We know from all the earlier chapters we have studied in Romans that this letter was written to the Jewish believers there. Making occasional reference as needed to Gentiles. Usually for clarity regarding Jews who were under the law vs Gentiles who never have been as we see in Rom.2:14 and elsewhere.
As we will see, in this chapter, and in the first few verses of ch15, Paul is teaching the Jewish believers in Rome to live peaceably with one another. And for the Jewish believers who have seen that they have liberty in what they eat and holy days, to not look down on or condemn a brother who shows he is weaker in the faith, because he still believes he can eat only certain things and must esteem some days above others.
You know what they say, there's nothing worse than a reformed drunk for condemning drunks for still being drunks. Well, it was the same here for those Jews who after growing into their liberty in Christ. They then began to condemn their Jewish brethren who had not yet grown to the same understanding about this liberty.
And this is really the crux of what Paul was teaching in this chapter. That believing Jews who had grown more fully into the liberty that is in Jesus need not condemn those who are younger in the faith that have not.
This is also similar to what we saw in Acts15. Where it was argued by some believing Jews, those I would argue fit Paul's description here of the weaker brother, who believed that all believers, including Gentile believers, were to keep the commandments of Moses and circumcision.
And after much discussion, some heated, it was concluded by them that the apostles never taught anyone, Jew or Gentiles, any such thing. James saying, "Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment."
We know from the Old Covenant that Jews were instructed by God under the law to eat only certain foods. And to esteem the 7th day and other holy days above others. With harsh penalties for their violation. While Gentiles, that is the rest of the nations, were never instructed about any of this.
So it is because these kinds of conversations went on between these Jewish believers who met together here. And during those meetings Jews who had come to know that these were not rules or customs the New Covenant believer needs to live by. Some concluded that those who still do are really not believers in Jesus. But, were still living as if they are under the law. Some probably even concluding that because their fellow Jewish believers were legalists they were probably not really in the faith.
Just as some believers do today when they encounter other believers that think similarly about the issue of what they should eat and whether one day should be esteemed above another. Because knowing that this was only for Hebrews under the law, and that Jesus' death being the final once for all sacrifice for sins for Jews who were under the law, a more mature believer can come to the same wrong conclusions that rather than being a weaker brother. These are considered not to be in the faith.
So Paul sets out to assure them that regarding these things this is not the case saying, 1 "Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations." Here Paul wants those Jews who know what it meant when Paul taught that "all thing are lawful unto me", that just because his believing Jewish brethren thought it is God's will that they continue to observe the same diet and holy days, this is an issue that does not disqualify them from the faith.
It's only that they simply have not yet come to the place in their relationship with God where they understand that this was only to be part of their life while they were under the law. This is why Paul added saying, "Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them." Making it clear that what Jesus said in Mt.15:11 was still true for them that- "It's not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man."
But, even if they still believe they are to eat only certain things and revere one day above another, they are still to be treated as brothers because Paul says, 2 one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him."
So we see clearly here that God has received even them who believe they should not eat meat but only herbs has nothing to do with their being in the faith or not. So Paul is teaching these Jews here that this is not a salvation issue. And that if his Jewish brother has trusted in Jesus for eternal life, though he is still weak in the faith, he is received of God. And therefore must be received by other believers as a brother. A weaker brother, yes. But, a brother none the less.
And as one who has been received by God and therefore a brother in Christ Paul asks, 4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks."
In this Paul states absolutely that eating only herbs or eating meat as well. Or considering one day more important in their service toward God or considering all days alike. Has no bearing on one's salvation. But, only shows where a man is in his walk with the Lord.
And though Paul refers to those who esteem the day and eat only herbs as the weaker brother. Once again, it is clear that he is telling us that weak or strong in the faith they are brothers in Christ. Because we are not saved by works like touch not, taste not, and handle not. We are saved by grace apart from works.
Which is why Paul adds saying, 7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.
8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's."
So this is the qualifier. Not what we eat or what we drink. And not whether we esteem one day above another as a holy day. But, whether we live and die in the Lord. Understanding that it is that we live by faith apart from works for salvation. And whatever we think we need to do to be obedient to God in regard to these specific things Paul is describing here is an issue that concerns the man who is already saved and in the Lord.
Because Paul says, 9 to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living."
So Paul asks these who were arguing about these things as if they determined whether a man is in Christ or not, 10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way."
Paul shows us that when the believing Jew judges saved or unsaved by these matters they are in error. Because he says these are not issues that determine whether one is saved or not. They are only issues that show the level of maturity a brother has reached in these particular matters.
But, do not make the mistake of thinking believers are not to judge those in the assembly. Paul is not saying we are not to judge those in the eklesia, the assembly of the righteous. In fact, in 1Cor.5:12 where Paul is reprimanding the believers at Corinth for not judging the man who was having sex with his father's wife there. He says we are to judge those that are within rather than those who are without the assembly.
So if believers are not to judge within the assembly this would mean that there would be no accountability for those who bring in heresy. Heresy like original sin and sin nature that Augustine brought that has caused so many to come under strong delusion that binds them to their sin and blinds them from the truth.
By believing this antichrist heresy that says it is because the flesh is evil that men are condemned to hell from conception. And that since the flesh is evil Jesus could not have come in the same flesh all men have. A doctrine that John says is of the spirit of antichrist in both 1st and 2nd John. And that Heb.2:14 clearly shows is heresy.
So because of the love of God the more mature brother has had shed abroad in his heart he does not place a stumbling block in front of his weaker brother. So that he stumble because in his walk with the Lord he has not yet reached the place where he can feel comfortable eating whatever he wants. And believing that every day is to be considered equal to another. As a stronger brother has no problem doing.
But, still believes that he needs to eat only herbs and esteem sabbaths and other Jewish holy days above other days. Because that's the way he was taught his whole life as a Jew before he came to believe in Jesus.
And as a Jew that has come to a saving faith in Jesus Paul showed that as they mature the Jewish believer will come to the same conclusions that he himself has. Which is why he said, 14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself"
This is what Paul meant also in 1Cor.6 and 10 when he said, "12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body."
And as the mature brother he showed what our response should be if we really be the stronger brother in the faith saying, "but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean." So that as he has taught here we do not put a stumbling block in his way by trying to force him to believe something he is not yet ready for.
Even saying, 15 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died." This is the stumbling block of which Paul spoke. So Paul says,
16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of:
17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men."
In this Paul relies on the maturity in grace of the mature brother to help the less mature believer to know he is accepted in the faith regardless of his understanding in these things. And that it does not matter that he has not yet come to believe he can eat what he wants or esteem each day the same.
Because the kingdom of God for which we are being prepared is not about what we eat or what day is esteemed greater than the other. But, about righteousness. That is, our relationship with Jesus. And peace, the peace that passes understanding. And the Holy Spirit who lives in us leading and guiding us in all truth.
So Paul concludes telling all of them, 19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
20 For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.
21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.
23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin."
What does it mean "for meat destroy not the work of God"? It means that believers do not divide over this issue. And they do not place stumbling blocks in front of those who do. Because we are all one in Christ who have believed in Him and His resurrection no matter what our thinking is about meat and days.
It is when we do divide over these things that we condemn ourselves. Because even though the more mature brother knows that "all things indeed are pure; it is evil for that man who eats with offense." Why? Because he does it in violation of his faith and of his own conscience. And as Paul says when he finishes this chapter, "whatsoever is not of faith is sin."
Paul continues these thoughts into ch15 saying, "15 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification." Adding that even Jesus avoided this kind of reproach. And Paul tells us why saying, "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope."
So it is faith that matters here. Faith in Jesus. Faith that works by love. A faith that informs our choices so that we do or not do a thing. In this context it is food and days. In another it might be what we wear or how our hair is. But, always it is faith that works by love that matters in regard to why we do what we do in the Lord.
Things we do that are the "good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." These do not save us. Nor do they prove that we are saved. They are simply the by products of a true and saving faith that works by love.
But, to get to this place we must first trust in Jesus and His resurrection for salvation. Which all these Jews Paul is writing to here had already done. Without which salvation these things they found themselves arguing and judging one another over are just customs stemming from values that have no consequence in eternity.
Because it is only through faith in Jesus that we become a new creature. A being that is spiritual made so by a new birth that happens in us. That creates in us a spirit we never had before. Making us children of God and heirs to His kingdom by birth.
This is why Paul says in Rom.10:9,10 that if you will confess that Jesus is Lord. And believe in your heart that He has raised from the dead. You will be saved. If you will do this then you will have eternal life now. And if you will do this He will make you immortal at the resurrection. If you will do this... then I will see you there or in the air!
This message can also be heard at: https://rumble.com/v3goba7-though-a-brother-may-be-weaker-in-the-faith-he-is-still-a-brother-rom.14.html
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