ROMANS CHAPTER 14

OBSERVATION STAGE

The purpose of the observation stage is to maintain focus on the text at hand within the normative rules of language, context and logic which limits the observer to the content offered by the book of Romans. This will serve to avoid going on unnecessary tangents elsewhere; and more importantly, it will provide the framework for a proper and objective comparison with passages located elsewhere in Scripture.

Remember that something elsewhere may be true, but in the text at hand it may not be in view.

Romans chapter 14 continues to provide particulars which fulfill the commands to believers in Romans 12:1-2 and 13:8-10:

*** EXCERPTS FROM CHAPTERS 12 & 13 ***

Or skip to verse 14:1

IN VIEW OF GOD'S MERCY BESTOWED UPON THEM, PAUL AUTHORITATIVELY EXHORTS GENTILES WHO ARE FELLOW BELIEVERS, TO OFFER THEIR BODIES - THEIR THOUGHTS, WORDS & DEEDS - AS A LIVING / DAILY SACRIFICE, HOLY AND PLEASING TO GOD AS THEIR SPIRITUAL ACT OF WORSHIP

(Ro 11:30 NKJV) For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, (Ro 11:31 NKJV) even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. (Ro 11:32 NKJV) For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. (Ro 11:33 NKJV) Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! [Isa 40:13] (Ro 11:34 NKJV) For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counselor? (Ro 11:35 NKJV) Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him? [Job 41:11] (Ro 11:36 NKJV) For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen. (Ro 12:1 NIV) Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies [lit, as a living sacrifice], holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship." =

The phrase in Ro 12:1, "Therefore I urge you, brothers" refers to Gentile believers, i.e., "brothers" with Paul relative to having in common, saving faith in Jesus Christ unto eternal life, (Ro 1:6-7). The Greek word "parakaleO" rendered "I urge" in the NIV conveys authoritative exhortation from Paul, an Apostle appointed by God, (Ro 1:1). The last seven verses of Romans chapter 11, (11:30-36), are a precursor to chapter 12, hence chapter twelve begins with the word rendered, "Therefore." The verses reflect upon the sovereignty; the infinite unsearchable wisdom and the unfathomable mercy of God Who has committed all mankind to disobedience in order to bestow mercy upon them all - a key theme expounded upon in the book of Romans from chapters 1 through 11. Chapters 1 through 11 are a doctrinal exposition of God's mercy being bestowed upon mankind resulting in eternal salvation and temporal deliverance / reconciliation for those who become believers in His Son as Messiah-Savior and thereafter are enabled to become faithful servants of the LORD respectively. Thereafter, beginning in Romans chapter 12, the Apostle Paul, continuing to address Gentile believers, authoritatively urged, i.e., exhorted his "brothers" in the faith, that in view of the mercy bestowed upon them by the LORD, their response should be to offer their bodies as a living sacrifice to the LORD, holy and pleasing to God. Paul defines this response as their spiritual act of worship.

The Greek phrase in Ro 12:1

"parastEsai ta ..sOmata humOn ......thusian ...zOsan

"to present .the bodies ...your ....[a] sacrifice .living

hagian, .euareston ......tO theO"

holy, .....well pleasing .to .God"

rendered "to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God" in the NIV in verse 12:1 conveys the idea of the Gentile believer, (and by implication, all believers), choosing to serve God with every member of their bodies. This must include the believer's volition as well as the members of his physical body as expressed in every thought, word and deed. Hence Ro 12:1 refers to Gentile believers (and by implication all believers) offering to God their thoughts, words and deeds as a living / daily sacrifice to God resulting in a pleasing obedience which is holy = set apart to the service of the LORD such that it is actually a spiritual act of worship as verse 12:1 stipulates. Such living sacrificial action as opposed to the sacrifice of a dead animal, portrays the individual's ongoing, daily dedication and devotion to God and His standard of holiness.

[Bible Knowledge Commentary, Walvoord and Zuck, Eds, Victor Books, 1988, USA, p. 487]:

"Paul divided several of his letters into two major sections, a doctrinal portion and a practical one. He followed that pattern in this epistle too, though the doctrinal part is more than twice as long as the practical...

12:1-2. The start of this practical section is indicated by Paul's exhortation I urge (the first word of v. 1 in the Gr. text.). Therefore also shows a transition ... The basis of Paul's exhortation is God's mercy... God's compassion has been described in detail in the first 11 chapters of Romans. The content of Paul's urging is to offer your bodies (cf. Rom 6:13) as living sacrifices... The word 'bodies,' mindful of the Old Testament sacrifices, represents the totality of one's life and activities, of which his body is the vehicle of expression. In contrast with Old Testament sacrifices this is a 'living' sacrifice. Such an offering is holy (set apart) and pleasing... to God. Furthermore, it is spiritual (logikEn...) worship (latreian). Latreian refers to any ministry performed for God, such as that of the priests and the Levites... A believer's offering of his total life as a sacrifice to God is therefore sacred service. In the light of Paul's closely reasoned and finely argued exposition of the mercies of God (Rom 1-11), such an offering is obviously a desirable response for believers."

BELIEVERS ARE TO OWE NO ONE ANYTHING EXCEPT TO EXPRESS AGAPE / GODLY LOVE TOWARD ONE ANOTHER. A LIFESTYLE CHARACTERIZED BY AGAPE LOVE TOWARD OTHERS QUALIFIES AS FULFILLING THE RIGHTEOUS STANDARD OF LAW, I.E., RULES GOVERNING HUMAN CONDUCT - SPECIFICALLY THE MOSAIC LAW. THE HOUR FOR BELIEVERS TO AWAKEN FROM THEIR INACTIVE FAITH IS NOW, FOR THE COMPLETION OF THEIR SALVATION IS NEARER THAN WHEN THEY FIRST BELIEVED. THEY ARE TO LAY ASIDE THE DEEDS OF DARKNESS, (SIN), AND PUT ON THE ARMOR OF LIGHT, I.E., CLOTHE THEMSELVES WITH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST - HIS STANDARD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND NOT THINK ABOUT HOW TO GRATIFY THE DESIRES OF THE SINFUL NATURE

(Ro 12:1 NIV) "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. (Ro 12:2 NIV) Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will. (Ro 13:8 NKJV) Owe no one anything except to [agape / godly] love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled law. (Ro 13:9 NKJV) For the commandments, 'You shall not commit adultery,' 'You shall not murder,' 'You shall not steal,' 'You shall not bear false witness,' 'You shall not covet,' and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' (Ro 13:11 NAS) Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. (Ro 13:12 NAS) The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. (Ro 13:13 NKJV) Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. (Ro 13:14 NIV) Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature [lit., 'flesh']." =

Paul concludes the message of Romans 13:8-10 that believers are to owe no one anything except to express agape / godly love toward one another. A lifestyle characterized by agape love toward others qualifies as fulfilling the righteous standard of law, i.e., rules governing human conduct. The Mosaic Law is specifically in view, (cf. Ro 13:9). He states in 13:11 the urgency of following through on this exhortation of expressing agape / love one for another with the phrase, "Knowing [that] the time, now it is high time, [lit., 'the hour is already here'] to awaken out of sleep." He refers to believers awakening from an inactive faith because the completion of their salvation is nearer in their temporal lives to being fulfilled than when they first believed. Although Paul wrote these words millennia ago, the urgency remains for all believers because their temporal lives are finite. They only have so much time before their physical lives come to an end, time which needs to be spent in the service of the LORD relative to preserving / saving the value of their lives for all eternity via eternal rewards earned through faithfulness on earth.

In Ro 13:12, Paul continues the subject of the fulfillment of the believers' salvation, describing the period of time leading up to it as "night," evidently referring to the period in history of mankind - of the physical / temporal / life with trials and tribulations occurring in the mortal body which is contaminated by the sinful nature, [lit., 'flesh']. Notice the reference in Ro 13:13 to "deeds of darkness," i.e., sin. This time of "night," times characterized by the darkness of tribulation and sin, Paul declares is almost over for mankind, and the day is near, referring to the fulfillment of the salvation of those of mankind who have become believers when they will no longer dwell in sin. For the waning moments of this darkness, Paul exhorts believers to put on the armor of light, i.e., to walk properly, as in the day. They are not to walk in revelry and drunkeness, nor lewdness and lust, nor strife and envy - the latter being characteristics of the sinful nature and pictured by Paul as in the darkness of the night. Rather they are exhorted to put on the armor of light. The armor of light is paralleled with the phrase "clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ" as if to say that believers are to act in accordance with His righteousness and holiness as opposed to thinking about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. Notice that not only ones deeds, but ones thoughts are to be Christ like.

[Expositor's, Vol 10, Frank E Gaebelein, Gen. Ed., Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, p. 143]:

"12,13... Even as darkness is symbolic of evil and sin, the light fittingly depicts those who have passed through the experience of salvation. Paul pictures the Christian as one who anticipates the day by rising early. His night clothes are the works of darkness, the deeds that belong to the old life. The garments to which he transfers, however, are unusual. They are likened to armor... Evidently the purpose is to suggest that to walk through this world as children of light involves a warfare with the powers of darkness... Even though the day as an eschatological point has not yet arrived, the believer belongs to the day..., anticipating by the very atmosphere of his transformed life the glory that will then be revealed...

This is the basis for the plea, ['Let us walk properly, as in the day,'] The Christian is to live as though that final day had actually arrived, bringing with it the personal presence of Christ. There should be no place, then, for the conduct that characterizes unsaved people, especially in the night seasons.

14 In conclusion, the apostle returns to his figure of putting on clothing (cf. v. 12), but now the garment is personalized. He urges his readers to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. This amounts to appropriation - the deliberate, conscious acceptance of the lordship of the Master - so that all us under His control - motives, desires, and deeds.... "

*** END OF EXCERPTS FROM CHAPTERS 12 & 13 ***

I) [Ro 14:1-4]:

(Ro 14:1 NASB) "Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.

(Ro 14:2 NASB) One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only.

(Ro 14:3 NASB) 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.

(Ro 14:4 NASB) Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand."

A) BELIEVERS ARE TO ACCEPT WEAKER BELIEVERS INTO FELLOWSHIP WITH THEM BUT NOT TO JUDGE / DISPUTE WITH THEM OVER PRACTICES WHICH ARE (1) NOT CRITICAL TO ETERNAL LIFE AND (2) NOT CLEARLY PROHIBITED OUTRIGHT OR NOT EVEN SPECIFICALLY ADDRESSED IN SCRIPTURE - MATTERS OF PERSONAL OPINION

(Ro 12:1 NIV) "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. (Ro 12:2 NIV) Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will. (Ro 13:13 NKJV) Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. (Ro 13:8 NKJV) Owe no one anything except to [agape / godly] love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled law. (Ro 14:1 NASB) Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions." =

The passage in Romans 12:1-2 commands believers to "offer [their] bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God ... [and to] not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but [to] be transformed by the renewing of [the] mind. Then [they] will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will." So the believer is to be transformed by the renewing of his mind to the will of God; evidently through a study, acceptance and application to his life of the words of God's Word which explain His will. The section of Romans from 12:3 through 15:13, which is part of God's Word given through Paul, stipulates specific things to obey in order to achieve that transformation. The first verse in chapter 14 of this section looks like this in the Greek:

(Ro 14:1 Greek) "Ton de...asthenounta tE ......pistei proslambanesthe

............................."The but .being weak ..in the faith .receive

mE .eis diakriseis dialogismOn"

not .for decisions .of reasonings"

Romans 14:1 in the YLT closely parallels the Greek text stipulated above:

(Ro 14:1 YLT) "And him who is weak in the faith receive ye [but] not to determinations of reasonings."

The NASB on the other hand, clarifies the context in modern American English with:

(Ro 14:1 NASB) "Now accept the one who is weak in [the] faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions."

The word "now" in Ro 14:1 NASB is implied since the verse continues the context of chapter 13 which stipulates things to obey in order to achieve the transformation referred to in Ro 12:1-2. The Greek word "de" in 14:1 meaning "but" is placed second in an emphatic position which emphasizes the command of believers who are stronger in the faith to accept fellow believers who are weak in the faith BUT not to enter into personal judgments or disputes with them on how they are conducting their lives before God. Ro 14:1 refers to believers whose lifestyle is weak relative to not being as godly as stronger believers are in matters of the Christian life - matters which are (1) not critical to eternal life and (2) not clearly prohibited outright or not even specifically addressed in Scripture - matters of personal opinion, (cf. Ro 14:1).

The phrase in Romans 14:1b which follows "Now accept the one who is weak in [the] faith, in Romans 14:1 NASB, looks like this in the Greek: "mE eis diakriseis dialogismOn" literally, "not for decision [judgment] of [personal] reasonings." It is rendered "(And him who is weak in the faith receive ye) [but] not to determinations of reasonings" in the YLT and "(Now accept the one who is weak in [the] faith), [but] not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions," in the NASB. The meaning of the phrase in 14:1b hinges on two key words (1) "diakriseis" and (2) "dialogismOn." The word "diakriseis" (Str #1253), means discernment or differentiation. It is largely used in a judicial or judgment sense. In the context of Romans 14:1, "diakriseis" has in view a sense of personally judging / disputing the validity or truthfulness of points of view or practices exercised by a weaker believer which another believer has determined are disputable in serving the Lord. The Greek word "dialogismOn" (Str # 1261), is composed of "dia" meaning "through" and "logismOn" from the stem word "logismos" means reasoning; hence thinking through by personal thought, deliberation and inward reasoning, i.e., formulating a personal opinion. In view, then, are matters which are (1) not critical to eternal life and (2) not clearly prohibited outright or even specifically addressed in Scripture - matters of opinion which are often matters which the weak believer for the moment has not accurately discerned from Scripture. So the word "dialogismOn" portrays in Ro 14:1 the latitude of a believer to have his own personal opinion on certain practices in his service to the Lord when those practices are (1) not critical to eternal life and (2) not clearly prohibited outright or not even specifically addressed in Scripture - matters of personal opinion, (cf. Ro 14:1). Hence the weaker believer should.not be judged / disputed with over such matters by other believers, especially not as the reason for accepting him into fellowship.

Note that salvation unto eternal life via a moment of faith alone in Christ alone implying eternal security is critical to ones eternal destiny and is specifically addressed in Scripture - hence it is disputable. Furthermore, other means by which eternal life might be secured are specifically addressed and are clearly prohibited outright, (Ro 3:21-28 Ro 4:2-6 Ro 11:6 ). Hence these matters are also to be judged in accordance with Scripture and are disputable. But all must be done with agape love and must not be the motivation for accepting an individual who might be saved and does not accurately reflect the doctrine of eternal life by a moment of faith alone in Christ alone. Unsaved individuals are not in view in this passage. Note that for matters that are clearly prohibited outright and clearly and objectively observed in the individual's behavior, preferably by more than one witness, such as revelry and drunkenness, lewdness and lust, strife and envy the believer must seek godly means by which to respond:

1) Compare Ro 13:13 NKJV

"Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy."

In essence, believers are to accept into fellowship the weaker brother in godly grace.

B) BELIEVERS ARE TO ACCEPT WEAKER BELIEVERS INTO FELLOWSHIP WITH THEM BUT NOT TO JUDGE / DISPUTE WITH THEM OVER PRACTICES WHICH ARE (1) NOT CRITICAL TO ETERNAL LIFE AND (2) NOT CLEARLY PROHIBITED OUTRIGHT OR NOT EVEN SPECIFICALLY ADDRESSED IN SCRIPTURE - MATTERS OF PERSONAL OPINION SUCH AS WHAT FOODS TO EAT. PAUL SAYS, 'WHO ARE YOU TO JUDGE THE SERVANT OF ANOTHER? TO HIS OWN MASTER HE STANDS OR FALLS, AND HE WILL STAND, FOR THE LORD IS ABLE TO MAKE HIM STAND,' VIA THE GRACE OF GOD BECAUSE OF THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD'S SON BEING CREDITED TO ALL BELIEVERS

(Ro 3:21 NIV) "But now an eternal righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. (Ro 3:22 NIV) This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, (Ro 3:23 NIV) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Ro 3:24 NIV) and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Ro 3:25a NAS) "Whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith [for a display]. (Ro 3: 25b NAS) This [display] was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; (Ro 3:26 NAS) for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.... (Ro 14:1 NASB) Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. (Ro 14:2 NASB) One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. (Ro 14:3 NASB) 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. (Ro 14:4 NASB) Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand." =

In the next three verses, (Ro 14:2-4), Paul elaborates upon the freedom of choice the believer of Paul's current age - the age of believers today - has relative to what he eats, which is in accordance with the faith of the individual, i.e., his spiritual maturity which is a product of his perception of what is godly and what is not. For example, one believer's faith is more mature and stronger - hence more accurate in accordance with Scripture. So it allows him to eat everything. But another believer's faith in what is godly relative to his diet is immature and weak being based on his "dialogismOn," i.e., his personal opinion - which does not accurately reflect Scripture. His "dialogismOn" permits him to eat only vegetables. He mistakenly thinks that eating meat is ungodly. Nevertheless, in spite of the fact that for believers of this age eating meat is not clearly prohibited outright in Scripture; if the immature believer, whose faith forbids him to eat meat, doubts what he is doing or goes against his personal opinion / belief system and does eat meat - perhaps due to the intruding judgment / dispute of a stronger brother in Christ - then it might cause him to doubt what he is doing into sin or stumble and fall into sin on matters of the faith which are significantly more important. So the general principle Paul has established in Romans chapter 14 is that believers are to accept fellowship with a weaker believer but not to intrude upon, judge or dispute with them over practices which are (1) not critical to eternal life and (2) not clearly prohibited outright or not even specifically addressed in Scripture - matters of personal opinion, (cf. Ro 14:1). Nor should the weaker believer judge other believers for not practicing their faith the way he does.

As a matter of fact, some believers view themselves as stronger in the faith than others when such is not the case. Ironically, they are weaker in the faith in the sense that they hold to certain points of view that are not scriptural.

In the final analysis, Paul asks the question in verse 4: "Who are you to judge the servant of another? And his answer follows: "To his own master he stands or falls." Paul then declares in 14:4c: "And he will stand, for the LORD is able to make him stand." This last phrase of verse 14 implies that the grace of God which depends upon the righteousness of His Son being credited to all believers which God is justified in crediting as a result of the Son's atoning sacrifice for sins, is what places that weak believer in a righteous standing with the LORD unto an absolutely secure eternal life regardless of failures in his Christian walk, (cf. Ro 3:21-24 ).

[BKC, NT, Walvoord & Zuck, Eds., Victor Books, USA, 1988, P. 492]:

"Christians are at different levels of spiritual maturity. They also have diverse backgrounds that color their attitudes and practices. The first lesson to learn in living harmoniously with other Christians, therefore, is to stop judging others.

14:1-4. The focus in these verses is on him whose faith is weak (lit., 'the one being weak in faith'), which appears in the emphatic first position in the sentence. Paul commanded believers to accept (pres. middle imper., 'keep on taking to yourselves'; ... such a person, without passing judgment on disputable matters [NIV] (lit., 'but not unto quarrels about opinions'). A believer with certain scruples is not to be welcomed into the fellowship with the intent of changing his views or opinions by quarreling with him about them.

One area of differing scruples pertains to food, in particular the eating of meat. One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables (lit., 'but the one being weak eats vegetables'). The reason some Christians then were vegetarians is not stated. Since the issue is related to their Christian faith, it could be to insure against eating meat offered to idols [a practice of the times]... The reason for a believer's scruple is not the point, however; its existence alongside a differing opinion was Paul's concern.

In such a situation neither believer should judge the other. Look down on (exoutheneitO...) should be translated 'despise' or 'reject with contempt'... The reason a 'strong' Christian... should not despise a 'weak' one, and the reason that a weak Christian should not condemn (krinetO) the strong is that God has accepted... both of them... As a believer, he is a servant of God and he is accountable to God, his Judge. Any Christian tempted to judge another believer must face Paul's question, Who are you to judge (lit., 'the one judging') someone else's servant? (OiketEn, 'domestic servant,' is not the usual word doulos, 'slave.') The present participle, 'the one judging,' suggests that Paul sensed some judging of others was occuring among the Christians at Rome. But such criticizing is wrong because a domestic servant should be evaluated by his... Master, not by fellow believers. Therefore, Paul concluded And he will stand (lit., 'he shall be made to stand'), for the LORD is able to make him stand. Even if a believer despises the scruples of another Christian, God can defend the second person."

[Expositor's, op. cit., pp. 144-5]:

"1-4 'Eat is the recurring word that characterizes this section. Diet practices differ and the differences are bound to be observed; they become a topic of conversation and a basis of disagreement. Paul's designation for the overscrupulous believer is 'weak in faith,' meaning that this man's faith is not strong enough to enable him to perceive the full liberty he has in Christ to partake. He is not troubled by questions of doctrine but is plagued by doubt as to whether it is right for him to eat some foods, (cf. v. 23). The injunction to those who do not share this weakness is to 'accept him' (v. 1). That this word (proslambanO) is capable of conveying the sense of warm wholeheartedness is shown by its use in Acts 18:26; 28:2. Such acceptance is impossible as long as there is any disposition to pass judgment on disputable matters. 'The weak man should be accepted as the Christian brother he claims to be. One should not judge the thoughts which underlie his conduct. This is for God alone to do.'... The weak brother must not be made to feel inferior or unwanted or 'odd.'

The ... use of 'faith' becomes clearer when Paul gives it a definite context (v. 2). One man, obviously strong in faith, feels he can ... 'eat anything'. Another, weak in his faith, confines his diet to vegetables. No reason is advanced for this self-limitation...

He [Paul] is solely concerned with specific practice and the reaction of the strong [in faith] to this practice [toward the brother of weaker faith]. The omnivorous man is apt to 'look down' on the weak brother, an attitude that is not conducive to full fellowship. The weak brother may retaliate by condemning the one who has no inhibitions about his food. If so, the latter needs to reflect on the fact that God has accepted... this man (v. 3). And why should he himself not do so?

To enforce the rebuke, Paul cites the relationship of a servant to his master (v. 4). In ordinary life, it would be unseemly for anyone to attempt to interfere in a case involving the servant's actions. One might go so far as to inform the master of what the servant was doing, but even that could be regarded as an unjustified intrusion."

II) [Ro 14:5-8]:

(Ro 14:5 NASB) "One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.

(Ro 14:6 NASB) 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.

(Ro 14:7 NASB) For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself;

(Ro 14:8 NASB) for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord's."

A) ON MATTERS THAT ARE (1) NOT CRITICAL TO ETERNAL LIFE AND (2) NOT CLEARLY PROHIBITED OUTRIGHT OR NOT EVEN SPECIFICALLY ADDRESSED IN SCRIPTURE - MATTERS OF PERSONAL OPINION, FOR EXAMPLE, WHAT TO EAT AND THE OBSERVANCE OF SPECIFIC DAYS WITH A VIEW TO SERVING THE LORD; A BELIEVER IS FREE TO MAKE UP HIS OWN MIND - WITHOUT INTRUSION, DISPUTE OR CONDEMNATION FROM OTHERS. HE SHOULD BE FULLY CONVINCED IN HIS OWN MIND AND NOT ACT IN DOUBT. FOR NO ONE LIVES OR DIES UNTO HIMSELF, BELIEVERS ALL BELONG TO THE LORD IN DEATH AS IN LIFE

(Ro 14:1 NASB) "Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. (Ro 14:2 NASB) One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. (Ro 14:3 NASB) 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. (Ro 14:4 NASB) Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. (Ro 14:5 NASB) One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. (Ro 14:6 NASB) 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 (Ro 14:7 NASB) For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself. (Ro 14:8 NASB) For if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord's," =

(Ro 14:5 Greek) "Hos men.krinei .......hEmeran par ..........hEmeran hos .de ...krinei

............................."Who .......judges [a] .day ..........above [a] day ..........who but .judges

pasan hEmeran. .Hekastos en .tO .idiO .....noi .....plErophoreisthO"

every day.............Each .......in ..the his own mind .let be fully assured."

The Greek verb "krinei", lit., "judges" appears twice in Ro 14:5. It refers to the subject of a believer judging the significance of observing days in the Christian life. Author Paul provides another example of matters one should not judge / dispute because the subject is (1) not critical to eternal life and (2) no particular day is clearly prohibited or commanded outright in Scripture for believers of the age when the church began to observe. So Paul writes that one man may consider one day "above," i.e., more sacred than another relative to serving the Lord, i.e., in living a godly life; and another man may consider every day alike, i.e., no day is more sacred than another in serving the Lord. So if a weaker brother observes certain days in serving the Lord over others to some end which is (1) not critical to eternal life and (2) not clearly prohibited or not even specifically addressed in Scripture, then other believers are not to intrude upon / judge / dispute with him on this issue - even if it contradicts Scripture. Hence, Paul indicates that each believer should be fully convinced in his own mind and not act in doubt relative to his view on the observance of each day in serving the Lord and for all matters, (cf. 14:8).

Romans 14:6, which follows, corroborates that each believer on matters that are (1) not critical to eternal life and (2) not clearly prohibited outright or not even specifically addressed in Scripture - matters of personal opinion, (cf. Ro 14:1) - is free to make up his own mind on such matters:

(Ro 14:6 Greek) "Ho..phronOn ..tEn hEmeran .kuriO ..phronei .kai .ho .mE

............................."The observing .the .day ...........to Lord observes and the not

phronOn ..tEn .hEmeran .kuriO ...ou ..phronei. ..Ho .esthiOn kuriO ....esthiei,

observing .the...day, ..........to Lord .not observes. The .eating ...to Lord .eats

eucharistei .......gar tO theO .....kai .ho ..mE .estiOn kuriO

he gives thanks for .......to God; and the .not .eating, to Lord

ouk esthiei ..kai .eucharistei .......tO theO."

not .he eats, and gives thanks to .God."

(Ro 14:6 NASB) "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"

The Greek phrase "Ho phronOn tEn hEmeran kuriO phronei" contain the words "phronOn" and "phronei" which convey the concept of observing days, i.e., following certain rituals, practices, etc., on a particular day in order to honor the Lord. In the case of Ro 14:6, certain days are in view as set apart for these rituals and practices as part of ones personal opinion on worshipping and service to the Lord. So the one observing "the day," i.e., a particular day, to the Lord observes it as part of his opinion arrived at through personal reasoning that the Lord requires it; and the one not observing a particular day, does not observe it according to his view that the Lord does not require it in serving Him.

If what is done by a believer is done in accordance with his personal opinion arrived at through a motivation to serve the Lord; and since it is the Lord to whom he belongs and is responsible to with no one else in between; then for the sake of not damaging or destroying that individual believer's walk before the Lord, the matter must not be intruded upon by other believers unless critical to eternal life, or clearly prohibited outright in Scripture.

The word rendered "For" in Ro 14:7 NASB, meaning 'because,' begins verse 7 by way of explanation of verse 6:

(Ro 14:7 NASB) "For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself."

So how a believer is to lead his life and how he dies is a matter between the individual believer and the Lord with no one in between:

This message continues into verse 8:

(Ro 14:8 Greek) "Ean te.....gar zOmen .............tO .....kuriO zOmen

............................."If ....both for .we should live, to the Lord ..we should live

ean te ....apothnEskOmen .tO .....kuriO apothnEskomen

if ....and we should die, ......to the Lord ..we die:

ean te .....oun ..zOmen .............ean te ....apothnEskOmen tou kuriou esmen."

if ....both then .we should live, if ....and we should die, .....the Lord's .we are."

Romans 14:8 explains, "For if [= whether] we [believers, weak and strong] live, [i.e., are physically alive] we [should] live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord's

Hence all believers should honor the Lord by living in accordance with His will. Then 14:8 goes on to say, "And if [whether] we should die," that is to say, or whether we believers have died, we should die to the Lord, in the sense that the Lord also has sovereignty over our death, so we are to honor the Lord with our physical death as well. And finally, "the Lord's we are" sums up His sovereignty over our existence: we are not our own, we all belong to Him in death as in life.

[Expositor's, op. cit., pp. 145-6]:

"5-8. Here the recurring phrase is 'to the Lord,' indicating that whether one be thought of as 'weak' or 'strong,' the important thing is that he conduct his life in the consciousness of God's presence, because God's approval is more significant than the approval or disapproval of fellow Christians. Eating is still in view, but alongside it Paul places a fresh topic - the holding of certain days as sacred.

5,6... Since the early church in Jerusalem almost certainly observed the Sabbath (as well as the first day of the week) because of its Jewish constituency and the danger of giving offense to non-Christian Jews, and since the Roman church presumably had a good-sized minority of Jews, it is not impossible that Paul has the Sabbath in mind. Perhaps because the observance of the day was not being pressed upon the Gentile believers in the church in the way that Jewish sects challenged such believers elsewhere... it was not necessary to identify the day explicitly. The close contextual association with eating suggests that Paul has in mind a special day set apart for observance as a time for feasting or as a time for fasting. The important thing is that one should 'be fully convinced in his own mind' as to the rightfulness of his observance. More important still is the certitude of the individual involved that his motivation is his desire to honor the Lord in what he is doing. It is possible for the observant and the nonobservant to do this, as illustrated by the giving of thanks at mealtime... the one partaking can give thanks for the meat before him, while the one abstaining from meat can give God thanks for his vegetables. The latter should be able to do this without resentment toward his brother who enjoys richer fare."

III) [Ro 14:9-13]:

(Ro 14:9 NASB) "For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

(Ro 14:10 NASB) But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.

(Ro 14:11 NKJV) For it is written: '[Surely] As I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.' [Isa 45:23]

(Ro 14:12 NKJV) So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.

(Ro 14:13 KJV) Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way."

A) THE REASON THAT ALL BELIEVERS BELONG TO THE LORD IN LIFE AND IN LIFE AFTER DEATH IS THAT "CHRIST DIED AND LIVED AGAIN" VIA HIS ATONING SACRIFICE FOR THEIR SINS AND HIS RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD. SO WITH BELIEVERS SHOWING CONTEMPT TOWARD ONE ANOTHER OVER PERSONAL MATTERS IN MIND, PAUL WARNS THEM OF THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF GOD THAT BELIEVERS WILL FACE TO JUDGE THE MERITS OF THEIR LIVES BEFORE THE LORD RELATIVE TO TEMPORAL AND ETERNAL REWARDS / DISCIPLINE. PAUL HAS REPEATEDLY STIPULATED THAT BELIEVERS ARE NOT TO JUDGE / SHOW CONTEMPT TOWARD ONE ANOTHER OVER PERSONAL MATTERS. THEY ARE INSTEAD TO MONITOR THEIR OWN LIVES RE: AGAPE LOVE TOWARD OTHERS SUCH THAT THEY DON'T CAUSE OTHERS TO STUMBLE AND FALL INTO SIN

(Ro 14:1 NASB) "Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. (Ro 14:5 NASB) One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. (Ro 14:6 NASB) 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. (Ro 14:7 NASB) For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; (Ro 14:8 NASB) for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. (Ro 14:9 NASB) For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. (Ro 14:10 NASB) But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. (Ro 14:11 NKJV) For it is written: '[Surely] as I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.' [Isa 45:23] (Ro 14:12 NKJV) So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. (Ro 14:13 KJV) Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way." =

The reason that all believers belong to the Lord in this mortal life and in life after death is that "Christ died and lived again" via His atoning sacrifice for their sins and His resurrection from the dead. So with believers showing contempt toward one another over personal matters in mind, Paul warns them of the Judgment Seat of God that believers will face to judge the merits of their lives before the Lord relative to temporal and eternal rewards / discipline. Paul has repeatedly stipulated that believers are not to judge / show contempt toward one another over personal matters. They are instead to monitor their own lives re: agape love toward others such that they don't cause others to stumble and fall into sin.

Ro 14:8 has established that believers, whether they live or die belong to the Lord. Verse 14:9 begins with "For" meaning 'because', and provides the reason for all believers belonging to the Lord: Christ died for the sins of the believer and lived again via His atoning sacrifice and resurrection from the dead for their sins, (Ro 3:21-26 )] so "that He might be Lord of the dead and the living."

1) [Cp Ro 10:12 NKJV ()]:

"For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him."

In view of the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is Lord of the living and the dead - referring to the afterlife, Paul admonishes believers in Ro 14:10 with a question which in effect asks, 'Why do you judge / dispute with one another over matters which are (1) not critical to eternal life and (2) not clearly prohibited outright or not even specifically addressed in Scripture - matters of personal opinion, (cf. Ro 14:1)?' Paul then repeats his question in this way: "Or why do you regard fellow believers with contempt over such matters?" In view of believers showing contempt toward one another over personal matters, Paul warns believers that they will all face the Judgment Seat of God, with a view to the Lord as being Lord of the dead, (referring to the afterlife), and the living, i.e., Lord and Judge of all men, believers and unbelievers in this life and the next relative to temporal / eternal rewards / discipline.

Whereupon, in Ro 14:11, Paul quotes from Isa 45:23 in order to provide a picture of the Judgment Seat of God which he just spoke of. The phrase at the beginning of verse 14:11, "As I live" is emphatic, hence the emphatic word "Surely... (as I live)," is legitimately rendered in the NIV. Furthermore, the Greek word, "exomologEsetai," rendered "shall confess" in the NKJV is the intensive form of the more often used verb homologeO. Both verbs mean 'to confess,' but exomologeO with the prefix "ex" meaning "out," i.e., the out confessing, has the more intensive thrust of confessing freely, openly, i.e., out loud and fully that the Lord is sovereign over them and all mankind - the entire universe.

2) [Compare Isa 45:17-23]:

(Isa 45:17 NKJV) '''But Israel shall be saved by the LORD With an everlasting salvation; You shall not be ashamed or disgraced Forever and ever.

(Isa 45:18 NKJV) For thus says the LORD, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited: "I am the LORD, and there is no other.

(Isa 45:19 NKJV) I have not spoken in secret, In a dark place of the earth; I did not say to the seed of Jacob, 'Seek Me in vain'; I, the LORD, speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.

(Isa 45:20 NKJV) Assemble yourselves and come; Draw near together, You who have escaped from the nations. They have no knowledge, Who carry the wood of their carved image, And pray to a god that cannot save.

(Isa 45:21 NKJV) Tell and bring forth your case; Yes, let them take counsel together. Who has declared this from ancient time? Who has told it from that time? Have not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, A just God and a Savior; There is none besides Me.

(Isa 45:22 NKJV) Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.

(Isa 45:23 NKJV) I have sworn by Myself; The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, And shall not return, That to Me every knee shall bow, Every tongue shall take an oath." '''

The LORD proclaims His sovereignty to the world, Jew and Gentile alike, especially relative to Who He is and the fact that there is none like Him and that whatever He declares is true - all of this with a view of His future Judgment of all mankind in Isa 45:23: "That to Me [= before Me] every knee shall bow, Every tongue shall take an oath." The phrase "Every tongue shall take an oath" refers to a public oath all men will make which recognizes His sovereignty over them as LORD.

[BKC, OT, p. 1100]:

"[Isaiah] 45:20-25. The Lord appealed to the Gentiles to turn from wooden idols and be saved from coming [temporal] destruction. They were to note the prophecies God had given and to acknowledge His uniqueness as the only God (vv. 21-22; cf. vv. 5-6, 14, 18) and to turn to Him because eventually everyone will acknowledge His sovereignty (cf. v. 14...). Even so, some Gentiles will be saved, recognizing that only in Him is righteousness available. But many will continue to rage against Him (Isa 45:24). However, Israel, God's covenant people, will be justified (found righteous) in the LORD, and in that they will rejoice (exult)."

In Ro 14:12, the Judgment Seat of God is further defined as a judgment in which each individual will give an account of his temporal life to God, believers and unbelievers alike. Since eternal life is eternally secure at the moment of faith alone in Christ alone, (Ro 3:21-24; 6:1-5; 7:24-8:2 ); then the Judgment of God relative to believers is not to judge whether or not they have the grace gift of eternal life, but to judge the merits of their lives before the Lord relative to rewards / discipline both temporal and eternal.

Verse 14:13 then summarizes the section of Ro 14:9-13 with "Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way." In other words, believers are not to make it their purpose to judge one another as they have been wont to do. Rather they are to turn their discernment capacity inwardly to monitor their own behavior so as to live their lives before the Lord in such a manner as not to do something that might cause a fellow believer to stumble and fall into sin.

IV) [Ro 14:14-18]:

(Ro 14:14 KJV) "I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

(Ro 14:15 NKJV) Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died.

(Ro 14:16 NKJV) Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil;

(Ro 14:17 NKJV) for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

(Ro 14:18 NASB) For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men."

A) BASED ON HIS KNOWLEDGE WHICH EVIDENTLY CAME BY THE PERSUASION OF THE LORD JESUS HIMSELF, PAUL PROVIDES AN EXAMPLE OF THE NEED TO RESPECT THE PERSONAL OPINIONS OF FELLOW BELIEVERS. HE CONCLUDES THAT THERE IS 'NOTHING [TO EAT] THAT IS UNCLEAN IN AND OF ITSELF;' BUT IF A BELIEVER REGARDS A PARTICULAR FOOD AS UNCLEAN, HENCE PROHIBITS HIMSELF FROM EATING IT IN ORDER TO FAITHFULLY SERVE THE LORD, HE MUST NOT BE GRIEVED / DESTROYED BY ANOTHER BELIEVER DISPUTING OVER OR CONSUMING THAT FOOD OR DISPUTING ANY PERSONAL OPINION THAT IS (1) NOT CRITICAL TO ETERNAL LIFE AND (2) NOT CLEARLY PROHIBITED OUTRIGHT OR NOT EVEN SPECIFICALLY ADDRESSED IN SCRIPTURE. THAT WOULD NOT BE DEMONSTRATING AGAPE / GODLY LOVE FOR THAT WEAKER BELIEVER FOR WHOM PAUL STIPULATES CHRIST DIED

(Ro 14:1 NASB) "Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. (Ro 14:2 NASB) One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. (Ro 14:3 NASB) 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. (Ro 14:4 NASB) Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. (Ro 14:5 NASB) One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. (Ro 14:6 NASB) 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. (Ro 14:7 NASB) For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; (Ro 14:8 NASB) for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. (Ro 14:9 NASB) For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. (Ro 14:10 NASB) But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. (Ro 14:11 NKJV) For it is written: '[Surely] As I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.' [Isa 45:23] (Ro 14:12 NKJV) So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. (Ro 14:13 KJV) Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way. (Ro 14:14 KJV) I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. (Ro 14:15 NKJV) Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died." =

Based on his knowledge which evidently came by the persuasion of the Lord Jesus Himself, Paul provides an example of the need to respect the personal opinions of fellow believers. He concludes that there is "nothing [to eat] that is unclean of itself," i.e., nothing that is clearly prohibited outright in Scripture to eat in and of itself for believers of this age. But if a believer regards a particular food as unclean, hence prohibits himself from eating it in order to faithfully serve the Lord, he must not be grieved / destroyed by another believer disputing over or consuming that food or disputing any personal opinion that is (1) not critical to eternal life and (2) not clearly prohibited outright or not even specifically addressed in Scripture, (cf. Ro 14:1 ). The believer who grieves another in this manner would "no longer [be] walking in [agape = godly] love," with the potential of destroying "the [temporal life of the] one for whom Christ died" - the one who uniquely belongs to Christ, having believed in His atonement for sins unto eternal life.

Note that the Greek verb "apollue" rendered "destroy" in Ro 14:15 NKJV refers to temporal, not eternal destruction, as corroborated by the word rendered "grieved" which has a temporal sense in the previous phrase and the context of Romans which indicates that all believers are eternally secure, (cf. Ro 8:1; 5:1; 14:4, 8-9) but are nevertheless subject to temporal destruction / blessing while they live out their mortal lives.

The phrase rendered "The one for whom Christ died" refers to all who are believers. Although it is true that Christ's atoning sacrifice for sins was for all mankind, (Ro 3:21-25), the phrase in the context of Ro 14:15 has only believers in view. The phrase stresses the point already made in Ro 14:8-12, that believers belong to the Lord in a unique way compared to all mankind. They are accountable to the Lord, set apart as His own personal possession in life and in life after death, never to be separated from Him, (Ro 5:1-6, 8:15-17; 28-30; 35-39).

[Expositor's, op. cit., p. 148]:

"Paul himself is convinced of something that the weak brother does not share, viz., that 'no food is unclean in itself' (v. 14)... in the passage before us the apostle seems to have reference to some utterance made by our Lord during his earthly ministry (note the human name 'Jesus' here)... not everyone has been enlightened on this issue, and if one is convinced in his heart that some foods remain unclean. Until he is convinced otherwise, it would violate his conscience to partake of them... Moreover, even if the strong brother does not try to convince the weak to change his habits, his own practice, since it is known, can be a stumbling block to the other, causing distress ["appollue", lit., destruction] of souls. This distress, ["appollue", lit., destruction] may be viewed as reaction to the callous indifference of the strong brother. But it may contain a hint of something tragic, a sorrow of heart induced by following the example of the strong, only to find the conscience ablaze with rebuke and the whole life out of fellowship with the Lord. In such a situation, love is not operating.

Paul's basis of approach to the strong brother has changed from granting him his position on the grounds of his liberty to eat. Now the appeal is not to liberty but to love, which may call for a measure of sacrifice. If such a sacrifice is refused, then the strong brother must face the responsibility for bringing spiritual ruin ["appollue", lit., destruction] on the weak... A selfish insistence on liberty may tear down and destroy, but love, when it is exercised, will invariably build up."

B) IN CERTAIN CASES PARTICULAR ACTIONS WHICH ARE PERSONAL AND NON-CRITICAL TO ETERNAL LIFE WHICH ARE "GOOD," I.E., GODLY, IN AND OF THEMSELVES, BECOME "EVIL" WHEN THEY OFFEND A WEAK BELIEVER WHO MISTAKENLY THINKS THEY ARE UNGODLY AND CAUSE HIM TO STUMBLE AND FALL INTO SIN THROUGH DOUBT AND/OR MISDEEDS WHEN THEY ARE DISPUTED BY / OBSERVED IN OTHER BELIEVERS. THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS NOT DEFINED BY SUCH PERSONAL THINGS AS EATING AND DRINKING, I.E., TEMPORAL ACTIVITIES PER SE; BUT IT IS COMPRISED OF THOUGHTS, WORDS AND DEEDS WHICH REFLECT THE RIGHTEOUSNESS, PEACE AND JOY OF GOD "IN THE HOLY SPIRIT," I.E., AS DIRECTED IN THEM BY THE HOLY SPIRIT. CONSIDER THE BELIEVER WHOSE ACTIONS ARE FOCUSED ON SERVING THE LORD IN SUCH A GODLY MANNER SUCH THAT THE WELFARE OF OTHERS IS TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT: HIS ACTIONS ARE STIPULATED AS 'ACCEPTABLE TO GOD,' I.E., RIGHTEOUS AND 'APPROVED BY MEN'

(Ro 14:1 NASB) "Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. (Ro 14:2 NASB) One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. (Ro 14:3 NASB) 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. (Ro 14:4 NASB) Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. (Ro 14:5 NASB) One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. (Ro 14:6 NASB) 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. (Ro 14:7 NASB) For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself. (Ro 14:8 NASB) for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. (Ro 14:9 NASB) For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. (Ro 14:10 NASB) But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. (Ro 14:11 NKJV) For it is written: '[Surely] As I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.' [Isa 45:23] (Ro 14:12 NKJV) So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. (Ro 14:13 KJV) Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way. (Ro 14:14 KJV) I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. (Ro 14:15 NKJV) Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. (Ro 14:16 NKJV) Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; (Ro 14:17 NKJV) for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Ro 14:18 NASB) For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men." =

The Greek word in Romans 14:16, "oun," rendered "Therefore" in the NKJV is located in an emphatic position - 3rd - in the Greek bible. The NKJV renders "therefore" and places it in first position in the verse in order to emphasize the announcement of a summarizing statement for vv. 14-15. So the first phrase in verse 14:16, rendered, "[Therefore] do not let your good be spoken of as evil," in the NKJV, refers to actions which are godly in and of themselves, hence the word "good;" but they become "evil" when they offend a weak believer who mistakenly thinks they are ungodly and cause him to stumble and fall into sin through doubt and/or misdeeds, (14:23), when they are disputed by / observed in other believers. Hence, it is implied in verse 16, that at times it is the agape / godly thing to do to NOT insist on debating / doing such things of a personal nature which are godly in and of themselves if a weaker brother mistakenly views them as ungodly causing him to stumble and fall into sin through doubt and/or misdeeds.

This is corroborated several verses later in verse 20:

1) [Compare Ro 14:20 NIV]:

(Ro 14:20 NIV) "Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble."

Verse 17 then explains that the Kingdom of God is not defined by such things as eating and drinking, i.e., temporal activities per se; but it is comprised of thoughts, words and deeds which reflect the righteousness, peace and joy of God "in the Holy Spirit," i.e., as directed in them by the Holy Spirit.

For example, verses 15-17 imply that if at a particular time, one abstains from eating or drinking certain foods that are acceptable in Scripture in and of themselves, in order not to offend a weaker brother; then that is an act of righteousness, and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, if at another time, a believer consumes that same food and drink unto the Lord when no one is offended; then that too is an act of righteousness, and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. The key is doing it as unto the Lord with a mental attitude which is characterized by agape / godly love for the Lord and for the welfare of those who belong to Him, (cf. Ro 14:15b). Such an attitude blesses the individual with temporal peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For it is all directed by Him, in Him and for Him.

And then Romans 14:18 stipulates: "For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men"

Paul concludes in verse 14:18 that the believer who "serves Christ" this way, i.e., whose actions are focused on serving the Lord in such a manner that the welfare of others is taken into account - he is stipulated as "acceptable to God and approved by men." Key phrases in this verse are:

(1) "Serves Christ" which corrobrates all that has gone before from 12:1 through 14:17: that the focus of the believer's life after all is said and done, is to serve Christ.

(2) "Acceptable to God" which provides the end result of the believer serving Christ: that he is acceptable to God not in the sense of receiving eternal life, for that has already been granted to him by God as a gift through His Son when the believer believed, (Ro 3:21-24 ); but for actions which are declared righteous and are due temporal blessings and eternal rewards in this life and the next, respectively.

(3) "Approved by men" which speaks of the commendation of men in general, believers and unbelievers alike; especially for going out of the way so as not to offend others. Although few men hold to the doctrines of the faith or understand them, most respect individuals who are faithful in expressing agape / godly love for fellow man, especially when that includes not intruding upon the personal lives of others, i.e., giving them space to live their lives as they see fit.

V) [Ro 14:19-23]:

(Ro 14:19 NKJV) "Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.

(Ro 14:20 NIV) Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.

(Ro 14:21 YLT) Right [it is] not to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor to [do anything] in which thy brother doth stumble, or is made to fall, or is weak.

(Ro 14:21 NKJV) It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.

(Ro 14:22 NKJV) Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.

(Ro 14:23 NKJV) But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin."

A) BELIEVERS IN THEIR RELATIONSHIPS WITH FELLOW BELIEVERS ARE TO: (1) PURSUE PEACE, NOT CONFLICT (2) PURSUE THINGS WHICH BUILD UP, NOT TEAR DOWN (3) SUPPORT THE WORK OF GOD IN EVERY BELIEVER, AND NOT DESTROY IT FOR THE SAKE OF FOOD OR ANY PERSONAL MATTER. SO IT IS WRONG TO EAT ANYTHING - OR DO ANYTHING - IN MATTERS OF PERSONAL OPINION - WHICH OFFENDS ANOTHER BECAUSE IT MIGHT CAUSE HIM TO STUMBLE AND FALL INTO SIN THROUGH DOUBT AND/OR MISDEED OR CAUSE HIM TO BECOME A WEAKER BELIEVER

(Ro 14:1 NASB) "Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. (Ro 14:2 NASB) One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. (Ro 14:3 NASB) 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. (Ro 14:4 NASB) Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. (Ro 14:5 NASB) One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. (Ro 14:6 NASB) 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. (Ro 14:7 NASB) For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; (Ro 14:8 NASB) for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. (Ro 14:9 NASB) For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. (Ro 14:10 NASB) But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. (Ro 14:11 NKJV) For it is written: '[Surely] As I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.' [Isa 45:23] (Ro 14:12 NKJV) So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. (Ro 14:13 KJV) Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way. (Ro 14:14 KJV) I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. (Ro 14:15 NKJV) Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. (Ro 14:16 NKJV) Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; (Ro 14:17 NKJV) for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Ro 14:18 NASB) For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. (Ro 14:19 NKJV) Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. (Ro 14:20 NIV) Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. (Ro 14:21 YLT) Right [it is] not to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor to [do anything] in which thy brother doth stumble, or is made to fall, or is weak. (Ro 14:21 NKJV) It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. =

In winding up this section, (Ro 14:1-23), author Paul gives believers commands beginning in verse 19, "Pursue the things which make for peace [as opposed to causing conflict via disputes on matters of personal opinion, (cf. 14:1b] and [pursue] the things with which one may edify another, [such as accepting one another into fellowship, (cf. 14:1a)]. In verse 20, he says to believers, "Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food," implying that God is indeed doing a work within each believer which can be destroyed by someone not acting in restraint or by intruding upon a fellow believer's life before the Lord on matters of personal opinion such as eating food - matters which are (1) not critical to eternal life and (2) not clearly prohibited outright or not even specifically addressed in Scripture - matters of personal opinion, (cf. Ro 14:1). Paul addresses not acting in restraint relative to eating food in 20b: "All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble." Verse 21 then corroborates that it is not just eating and drinking that concerns Paul relative to the Christian life. The YLT, (Youngs Literal Translation), follows the Greek text more closely: (Ro 14:21 YLT) "Right [it is] not to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor to [do anything] in which thy brother doth stumble, or is made to fall, or is weak;" and the NKJV provides a clearer, modern English rendering: (Ro 14:21 NKJV) "It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak." The phrase, "nor do anything" in verse 21 expands the command to believers to act in restraint and not intrude in other believers' lives beyond food and drink to anything which is (1) not critical to eternal life and (2) not clearly prohibited outright or not even specifically addressed in Scripture - matters of personal opinion, (cf. Ro 14:1 ), which might cause a brother to be offended, stumble and fall into sin through doubt and/or misdeed or cause him to become a weak believer.

[BKC, op. cit., p. 494]:

"14:19-21. Continuing his emphasis on not hindering another Christian's spiritual life, Paul urged his readers, Let us therefore make every effort (lit., 'Let us keep on pursing') to do what leads to peace (lit., 'the things of peace'; cf. v. 17) and to mutual edification (lit., 'and the things of building up one another'; cf. 15:2...). To Paul food and one's personal convictions about it were not so important as the spiritual health of a fellow Christian and the work of God. Therefore it is wrong to insist on one's personal freedom in Christ concerning food (all food is clean; cf. Rom 14:14, 'no food is unclean') and drink if it causes someone else to stumble (proskommatos, 'a stumbling block'; cf. vv. 13, 21). Meat or drink or anything else should be put aside if it causes a brother to fall (proskoptei, 'stumble'; cf. proskomma, in vv. 13, 20). At times one's Christian liberty must be relinquished for the sake of others.

B) PAUL ASKS A RHETORICAL QUESTION TO BE ANSWERED YES: 'DO BELIEVERS HAVE BELIEFS ON MATTERS OF PERSONAL OPINION RE: HOW TO LIVE THEIR LIVES BEFORE THE LORD?' THIS IS FOLLOWED BY PAUL'S ANSWER / COMMAND FOR BELIEVERS TO BE FAITHFUL TO THEIR BELIEFS ON MATTERS OF PERSONAL OPINION BEFORE THE LORD AND TO KEEP THEM PRIVATE SO AS NOT TO CAUSE OTHERS TO STUMBLE. FOR BLESSED IS THE BELIEVER WHO DOES NOT CONDEMN HIMSELF BY DOUBTING HIS BELIEFS THAT MOTIVATE HIS ACTIONS BEFORE THE LORD. HE WHO DOUBTS BRINGS GOD'S TEMPORAL CONDEMNATION UPON HIMSELF BECAUSE HE IS IN EFFECT DOUBTING THE SOVEREIGNTY AND CHARACTER OF GOD UPON WHOM THE BELIEVER'S BELIEFS ARE TO BE CENTERED

(Ro 14:1 NASB) "Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. (Ro 14:2 NASB) One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. (Ro 14:3 NASB) 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. (Ro 14:4 NASB) Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. (Ro 14:5 NASB) One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. (Ro 14:6 NASB) 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. (Ro 14:7 NASB) For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; (Ro 14:8 NASB) for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. (Ro 14:9 NASB) For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. (Ro 14:10 NASB) But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. (Ro 14:11 NKJV) For it is written: '[Surely] As I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.' [Isa 45:23] (Ro 14:12 NKJV) So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. (Ro 14:13 KJV) Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way. (Ro 14:14 KJV) I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. (Ro 14:15 NKJV) Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. (Ro 14:16 NKJV) Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; (Ro 14:17 NKJV) for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Ro 14:18 NASB) For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. (Ro 14:19 NKJV) Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. (Ro 14:20 NIV) Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. (Ro 14:21 YLT) Right [it is] not to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor to [do anything] in which thy brother doth stumble, or is made to fall, or is weak. (Ro 14:21 NKJV) It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. (Ro 14:22 NKJV) Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. (Ro 14:23 NKJV) But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin." =

In verse 14:22, Paul asks believers rhetorically, "Do you have faith?", i.e., Do you have your own personal opinions / beliefs re: how to live your life before God? The word "faith" in verse 23 refers to what one believes relative to matters of personal opinion in ones conduct before God. This is followed by Paul's answer / command for believers to be faithful to their beliefs on matters of personal opinion in their conduct before God but keep them private so as not to cause others to stumble, (14:22b) - especially weaker believers. For blessed is the believer who does not condemn himself by doubting his beliefs that motivate his actions before the Lord, (14:22c). He who doubts brings God's temporal condemnation upon himself, (14:23), because he is in effect doubting the sovereignty and character of God upon Whom the believer's beliefs are to be centered.

Since acting with faith means that one has chosen to act in a way in ones own understanding that best serves / honors the Lord, i.e., that best acknowledges His sovereignty in ones life and His Righteousness - that He expects one to be righteous as He is Righteous; then when one does not act in faith, but acts with doubt, then one is demonstrating that one is not convinced that what one is doing is righteous before the Lord, or serves the Lord, or that the Lord is sovereign over all matters.

1) [Cf. Ro 14:5-8]:

(Ro 14:5 NASB) "One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.

(Ro 14:6 NASB) 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.

(Ro 14:7 NASB) For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself;

(Ro 14:8 NASB) for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord's."

Note that in Ro 14:5-8, Paul indicates that each individual should be fully convinced in his own mind and not act in doubt relative to his view on the observance of each day in serving the Lord. Ro 14:7-8 further indicates that this exhortation includes all matters of the faith that are of personal opinion.

In the final anaylsis, Paul asks a rhetorical question to be answered 'yes' in 14:22a: 'Do believers have beliefs on personal matters of opinion re: how to live their lives before the Lord?' This is followed by Paul's answer / command for believers to be faithful to their beliefs on personal matters of opinion before the Lord and to keep them private so as not to cause others to stumble. For blessed is the believer who does not condemn himself by doubting his beliefs that motivate his actions before the Lord. He who doubts brings God's temporal condemnation upon himself because he is in effect doubting the sovereignty and character of God upon Whom the believer's beliefs are to be centered, (14:22b-23).

It is implied that whatever one believes relative to leading ones life before God, biblical or not, their faith is intimately connected to the character of God. Hence it is God's sovereignty and veracity that the believer is ultimately doubting when the believer does not act upon what he does from faith.

[BKC, op. cit., p. 494]:

"14:22-23. Concerning personal convictions in areas where different views exist, Paul concluded, So whatever you believe about these things (lit., 'The faith that you have,' or 'Do you have faith?') keep between yourself and God. A Christian must not insist on influencing a believer with tighter scruples to change his ways. It should be something 'in his own mind' (v. 5), for he lives 'to the Lord' (v. 8). Paul considered a Christian like himself who had a clear conscience on such matters blessed (lit., 'happy'). On the other hand, a Christian who has doubts is condemned') if he eats. If a Christian eats food or does anything when he has doubts in his own mind as to whether it is right or wrong before God (one who is 'weak' in faith, vv. 1-2), his action does not spring from (ek, 'out of') his faith or trust in God and is therefore wrong. As Paul generalized, Everything that does not come from (ek, 'out of') faith is sin. The principle is, 'When in doubt, don't.' The 'strong' Christian... is wrong if he causes a weak brother to sin (by doing something while doubting...), and a weak brother (vv. 1-2) who goes against what he doubts also sins (v. 23)."

ROMANS CHAPTER 15