Reflections: Romans 14:1

Just the Facts, Ma’am

Romans 14:1 (HCSB)
1  Accept anyone who is weak in faith, but don’t argue about doubtful issues.

In everything in life there are certain things that are simply non-negotiable. To play hockey you must know how to ice skate, to be a doctor you have to know about biology, to work in construction you it is helpful to know how to use tools, and to be a Christian you must confess Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.

Yet even in the Christian faith there are some things that are not hard and fast. Our verse today has Paul reminding us that there are some things that we do not need to argue about or press our opinion about. As you read through the bulk of chapter 14 (which I highly encourage you to do (really! you should stop right now and do it! (here is a link for you: Romans 14))) you will see that Paul primarily has food, drink and the calendar in mind but overarchingly Paul is concerned about the use of our Christian freedom. What Paul desires is that we as Christians use our freedom not to indulge in all sorts of revelry but instead to encourage our weaker brothers and sisters in their faith and build them up to the point that they might realize the freedom they have.

A secondary concern of Paul is that the follower of Christ does not get locked into a pattern of legalism. If it were true that worshiping on a certain day or eating certain foods made a person holy or closer to God, than man would have something to do with his salvation and could in some way bring himself into God’s presence instead of humbling himself so that God can come near. As Christians saved by grace we reject the idea that we can work ourselves into the favor of the Lord, so we must also reject the idea eating or not eating certain things makes us better Christians.

So this week consider the freedom you have in Christ but remember the warning not to use your freedom to make another stumble. Instead, sacrifice that freedom to build up your brethren that God may be exulted.

Prayer: Father, thank you for the grace that made all things clean! Please give me a discerning heart that I might know how to use this freedom and when to give it up to save and encourage my brothers and sisters of the faith. Amen