Putting God's Word into Practice…

Romans 14 Faith and Freedom–Legalism and Liberties

on August 31, 2012

This chapter is bookended with faith.  It’s starts off by saying those weak in faith are welcomed, and closes by saying those who lack faith are condemned.

Faith in this chapter is predominantly directed at legalism and liberties in the area of acceptable eating and drinking.  Although their struggles culturally were between Jewish food customs and Gentile permissiveness–we see food being a major issue in our culture today.  So many people are finding their righteousness in eating: vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, organic, hormone free, free range, etc… that it can become a stumbling block at church cookouts, potlucks and personal hospitality!  Honestly, I have sinned with being judgmental and critical towards people who define their lives by their diet.  So this chapter hits close to home.  For myself-I don’t have any food convictions except that gluttony is a sin.  Does that make me weak or strong–I don’t know! I do know being judgmental is a sin and rubbing my freedoms and liberties in other people’s faces is also unloving.  The only thing that really matters is if I live a life of thanksgiving to the Lord; if I honor the Lord in my convictions/opinions; and if I bend my knee to Him as Lord and praise Him.

We will ALL stand before Him, and EACH will give an account.  We are only accountable to God–not each other! (4, 10, 12)

If our convictions are grieving others, we are not walking in love and could be destroying the very people for whom Christ died.  Love overrides freedom!  It is more important to lay down our rights for the sake of unity in the body of Christ!

Heaven is not about what we eat/drink or abstain from eating/drinking.  It is about righteousness, peace and joy.  Our righteousness comes from Christ–not from rules about food.  Peace between each other is more valuable than our regulations or liberties.  Joy is found in the Holy Spirit, not from following rules. (I know people who’s day can be defined as good or bad based on how they ate!)  Whatever we do that stems out of righteousness, peace and joy is acceptable to God and approved by men.

In the end we are commanded to pursue what makes for peace and edifying our brothers and sisters.  Our faith and freedom is between us and God.  Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

In his Romans commentary, Robert Mounce wrote, “Trust is the willingness to put all of life before God for His approval.  Any doubt concerning an action automatically removes that action from the category of that which is acceptable.”

Again we see that LOVE is the most important virtue–even when it comes to eating and drinking.

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