Monday 14 October, 2013

Romans 14:13-23

13 Let us stop judging one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put anything in your brother’s way that would make him trip and fall. 14 I am absolutely sure that no food is “unclean” in itself. I say this as one who belongs to the Lord Jesus. But some people may consider a thing to be “unclean.” If they do, it is “unclean” for them. 15 Your brothers and sisters may be upset by what you eat. If they are, you are no longer acting as though you love them. So don’t destroy them by what you eat. Christ died for them. 16 Don’t let something you consider good be spoken of as if it were evil. 17 God’s kingdom has nothing to do with eating or drinking. It is a matter of being right with God. It brings the peace and joy the Holy Spirit gives. 18 Those who serve Christ in this way are pleasing to God. They are pleasing to people too. 19 So let us do all we can to live in peace. And let us work hard to build each other up. 20 Don’t destroy the work of God because of food. All food is “clean.” But it is wrong for you to eat anything that causes someone else to trip and fall. 21 Don’t eat meat if it will cause your brothers and sisters to fall. Don’t drink wine or do anything else that will make them fall. 22 No matter what you think about those things, keep it between yourself and God. Blessed are those who do not have to feel guilty for what they allow. 23 But those who have doubts are guilty if they eat. Their eating is not based on faith. Everything that is not based on faith is sin.

No food or drink is wrong to partake of before God.  However if our eating, drinking or any other behaviour causes another believer to falter in their faith we need to reconsider our actions.  God's word is clear that his kingdom is not about eating or drinking but peace, righteousness and joy in the Holy Spirit.  Christians are called to strengthen and boost one another's faith not cause doubt, confusion and division.

It is a wonderful thing to have a clear conscience before God.  In fact, it is the way we are called to live – at peace with God.   If our actions cause another believer to have doubts or confusion as to their standing with God we need to curtail our behaviour.  It's not a case of I'm ok before God with this you deal with it!  This passage of Scripture makes it clear that we are to encourage and edify believers not put them off.

Dear God, please forgive me when I put other believers off by my words or actions.  Help me to love and encourage your people.  Amen

Written by Ainslie Woods

2 replies
  1. David Newton says:

    I have always found the word ‘edify’ an interesting word. In many translations it is rendered ‘to build up’ (Rom 14:19). The English word ‘edifice’ means a building or structure, the verb ‘edify’ simply means to add to a structure.

    As you have pointed out our task is to add to a person’s faith but there are many ways to edify. Through example, serving and prayer but the primary method is by what we say to others (Eph 4:29).

    I think one of the lessons for me, from this passage is – if you always focus on ‘building people up’ you won’t be found to be tearing people down, even accidentally.

    Thank you Ainslie, I really enjoyed reading this passage!

  2. David Newton says:

    I have to add – Romans 14:17 is a wonderful summary scripture.

    ‘For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit’ – NIV

    It’s worth the contemplation!

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