| || |The Berean Expositor Volume 53 - Page 142 of 215 Index | Zoom | |
14: 1 - 15: 13.
pp. 61 - 64
The next section in this epistle relates to the duties of one Christian to another, bearing
in mind that all had not attained to the same level of spiritual growth. There were those
who were "strong" and those who were "weak" in the faith, and their attitude to food and
the religious observance of certain days was not the same. The Jew would be scrupulous
concerning meat, which had for him to be slaughtered according to O.T. rules, otherwise
he would abstain. The Gentile would not be so particular. Some would insist certain
religious days should be observed. Others might think this was not important. Believers
at this time needed some advice as to their behaviour to each other, and the Apostle gives
"Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.
One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats
only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not,
and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God
has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he
stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand" (14: 1-4,
It is not for one believer to judge or criticize another. Once again we are reminded of
the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord's "judge not, that ye be not judged" (Matt. 7: 1, 2).
The habit of criticizing others is a sin that is very prevalent among Christians, who
seem to act as though they had a divine right to do this. The act of one sinner criticizing
another sinner is absurd and unedifying, and the Apostle's conclusion is given in
Rom.xiv.13, "Let us not therefore judge one another any more". What we can do is to
"judge ourselves", which may not be pleasant, and if we do "we should not be judged"
"One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every
day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day
as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to
God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us
lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the
Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the
Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that He might be the Lord
of both the dead and the living. You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do
you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. It is
written: `As surely as I live', says the Lord, `Every knee will bow before Me; every
tongue will confess to God'. So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God"
(14: 5-12, N.I.V.).
In verse 7 Paul is not just teaching that our actions affect our fellowmen with whom
we come into contact, but that we live in relation to God, and are accountable in our
actions to Him as Lord. This makes our relationship to each other important, for finally
we have to answer to Him for this, as well as all other aspects of our witness day by day.