The Book of Romans Bible Study Chapter 14 Part 2

Romans 14:13-23

The Bible reveals to us that we have freedom and liberty in Messiah. We need to use this freedom and liberty to walk in love. We are not to use our liberty to destroy someone else who is weak in the faith.

v13: Resolve this: We need to judge or evaluate ourselves – we need to take stock of our own behaviour. 

  • Not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way: As much as it depends on us, we should not use our freedom and liberty to become a hinderance to the growth of our fellow believers. Just because we can do something does not mean that we should. We need to be able to exercise restraint. We need to be patient with others. 

v14: By the L-rd: When we are IN the L-rd it means that we are submitting to His L-rdship and are committed to the same things that He is committed to (ie seeing people come to salvation, seeing people grow and mature and become stronger in the L-rd).

  • (Unclean): Literally: Common. This is not the word for unclean. ‘Common’ means something which is rejected by G-d. For example, although G-d created all animals, he did not use all of them for the sacrifice at the temple. Some animals are considered common, inappropriate or rejected for temple sacrifice. These common animals, although not used for sacrifice, still had a purpose and a function and they could still be used to glorify G-d (eg The donkey and colt on which Yeshua rode into Jerusalem). What Paul is alluding to in this verse is that under the L-rdship of Messiah Yeshua we are going to have discernment and are going to understand the purpose of things and how to utilize all things so that ultimately everything can be used for the glory of G-d.
  • Him who considers anything to be (common) to him it is (common): Paul does not set aside or demean conscience or personal conviction. In some situations, for a variety of reasons, a person may feel that something is unacceptable and that it cannot be used for the purposes of G-d. Although Paul feels that everything can be used for the purposes of G-d, he gives grace to those who feel that some things cannot.  

v15: Grieved because of your food: We need to eat, but we don’t need to eat all things. If we are strong in the faith, it doesn’t mean that we should partake of something just because it is permissible to do so. We need to constantly evaluate ourselves so that we are not a stumbling block or an offense to weaker believers. The implication in this verse is that this person has eaten this food despite knowing that it was offensive to a weaker brother. If a fellow believer is going to be grieved because we have eaten meat (or something else) yet, knowing this, we eat it anyway then we have eaten it in a way that is not showing love toward that brother. 

  • No longer walking in love: We have been called to walk according to love. 
  • Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Messiah died: We must not allow what we eat to be a stumbling block to others or adversely affect their faith. If we know something is offensive to someone, and if we walk in love, then we will not partake of that particular food. We do not want to be those who destroy the faith of others, but we want to be those who edify and build up other people. We want to always be a G-dly influence. 

v16: Note: This verse is emphasizing our testimony. We want to do that which is good. We want to have a G-dly testimony – one that is pleasing to G-d and one which is affirmed by all the body of believers. 

  • Spoken of as evil (Blasphemed): It is good to have spiritual maturity and know that eating certain things is permissible. However, we must not let that which is good become blasphemy. If we go ahead and just do whatever we feel/know is right, it has the potential to adversely affect others and cause them to speak in a negative way about us. We need to make sure that we always have a positive testimony before the body of believers – we always need to ensure that we are above reproach – even if that means we need to curb our own freedom and liberty. 

v17: The Kingdom of G-d is not food and drink: Food and drink should not be what is important to us. We need to concern ourselves with the Kingdom of G-d – practicing righteousness, loving others, etc. 

  • Peace: Related to the fulfilment of G-d’s will.
  • Joy: When we are living righteously and are walking in peace (in the fulfilment of the will of G-d) we are going to have joy in the Holy Spirit.
  • Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit is mentioned here because it is He who brings us into G-d’s order. It is when we are in G-d’s order that we can be a blessing to others. 

v18Serves Messiah in these things: When our mindset is that we want to live righteously and want to fulfil the will of G-d, then we are going to be considered as those who serve Messiah. What is more important to us? Being faithful in serving G-d or having the freedom to eat and drink certain things? Love demands that we set aside these issues of food and drink. There are many things that we can eat that would not be a stumbling block to others. 

v19: Let us pursue…peace: We want to do the things that bring unity between ourselves and others. We want to be people who maintain peace and who are an edifying influence on others. 

v20: The work of G-d: G-d is working in the lives of individuals. We must do nothing to interrupt or destroy this work. 

  • All things indeed are pure: All things are clean IN Messiah, in this freedom that we have. We need to remember the context of these verses though. Paul is not trying to rewrite the laws of G-d. He is not saying that the things once unacceptable out of Messiah are now made acceptable in Messiah. When we are IN Messiah, we are not given a license to sin. In this passage, Paul has been talking about disputed things, about things which have no clear Biblical reference. 
  • Evil: It is against G-d’s will to be a stumbling block to others on account of what we eat. 

v21: It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine: In that time, in that culture, for those early believers who were young and weak in the faith, eating meat was causing problems. 

  • Drink wine: We have the freedom to eat meat and drink wine. But we do not have the freedom to do so if we are in the presence of others who would be offended or harmed by our actions. Eating meat and drinking wine are a matter of conscience. If we are convicted by these things, then we should not do them. If, however, we are not convicted, then as long as it is not adversely affecting others (or is within the security of our own homes) then we are at liberty to eat meat and drink wine. 

v22: Happy: Blessed

  • Condemn himself in what he approves: Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he has approved or by what he has been convinced is permissible for himself to do.

v23: This person was not fully convinced that what he was doing was right, but he proceeded to do it anyway. Therefore, because he was not fully convinced, he did not do this action out of faith, but instead he did it out of doubt. When we operate in doubt it means that we are not operating in faith, in truth. This is not a good place for us to be in. 

  • Whatever is not from faith is sin: When we do something (whether permissible to do so or not) that is not motivated by faith (ie we are doing it out of doubt or not according to truth) then we are sinning. Faith is related to truth, and truth is found in G-d’s Word. 

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