Doting on the Past + 6

 

B&W#993

” There is the story of the spring whose waters had certain medicinal properties so that those who drank from it were helped in various infirmities. In the course of time, homes sprang up around the spring – then came a hotel, stores, and eventually a town that grew into a city. But there came a day when visitors would ask, “Where is the spring from which this grew?” and the residents would say, with embarrassment, “We are sorry, but somehow in the midst of all our progress and improvement, we lost the spring.” Institutional Christianity’s biggest problem today is to find its lost spring.”

~Vance Havner

 

 

 

” “…he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad” (Matthew 12:30). There is no such thing as an inactive church member. If you are not gathering with Christ, you are scattering abroad, and either is activity. By not actively working with and for Him, you are working against Him.”

~Vance Havner

 

Fair-Weather Repentance

By Vance Havner

The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance.
Romans 2:4

We ought not wait for the hour of trial, the time of chastening to set our house in order, to take stock of ourselves, to have our commission renewed. God’s goodness not His scourging alone, is meant to lead us to repentance. The day of blessing should bring us to the mourner’s bench, and then we might avert the painful discipline. If we judged ourselves in the sunshine we might not be judged in the shadow.

Thatch your roof in dry weather. Do not wait until the storm breaks. While you have health and loved ones and prosperity, let the Great Physician give you a check up. Do not wait until you are grievously smitten.

Though most of us come to conversion and confession and cleansing in the house of desperation, it need not be so. God’s goodness ought to melt our hearts and break us down and shame our lack of faith and our love grown cold.

Fair-weather repentance might save us many a cloudy day.

 

 

Doting on the Past

By A.W. Tozer

lightofheaven

I always get an uneasy feeling when I find myself with people who have nothing to discuss but the glories of the days that are past! Why are we not willing to believe what the Bible tells us? The Christian’s great future is before him. Therefore, the whole direction of the Christian’s look should be forward. It is a fact that we should ponder soberly that so many Christians seem to have their future already behind them! Their glory is behind them. The only future they have is their past. They are always bringing around the cold ashes of yesterday’s burned-out campfire! Even their testimony, if they give it, reveals their backward look. Their downcast look betrays that they are facing in the wrong direction. We should take Paul for an example here. I think he occasionally took a quick, happy backward look just to remind himself of the grace and goodness of God enjoyed by the maturing believers in their Savior, Jesus Christ!

Verse

In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee. Isaiah 49:8

Thought

The Christian’s great future is before him.

Prayer

Lord, keep my eyes on the glory of completing Your will for my life, and help me to remeber that there is much more ahead than what lies behind.

 

”  “…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matthew 12:34). What is down in the well will come up in the bucket!”

~Vance Havner

 

theemptytomb

Condemnation And Death — Righteousness And Life

by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam

 

Contrasting the New Covenant with the Old, the Apostle points out that “the letter,” with its requirements and penalties, “killeth.” Therefore the dispensation of the Law is called “the ministration of condemnation” and “the ministration of death” (II Corinthians 3:7,9).

The ministration of the Law began in a blaze of glory. Mount Sinai was “altogether on a smoke… as the smoke of a furnace.” There were thunderings and lightnings and an earthquake. There was the sound of a trumpet, “exceeding loud.” There was the glorious Shekinah cloud in which God Himself appeared and “spake all these words” (Exodus 19:9- 20:1).

But ere Moses had even come down from the mount with the tables of stone, the people were breaking the very first commandment, dancing like heathen about a golden calf. From here on the administration of the Law took on another aspect. Judgment had to be pronounced and penalties inflicted. Nor could any escape its just sentence of condemnation and death. What had begun in glory led but to gloom, “because the law worketh wrath…” (Romans 4:15). “…for it is written: cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them” (Galatians 3:10).

But there can be no gloom associated with the ministration of the New Covenant, says the Apostle, for under it righteousness and life are administered to all who will receive them by faith. And this because the claims of the Old Covenant were fully met by Christ at Calvary. Thus the ministration of the New Covenant outshines the ministration of the Old in every respect.

But was not the New Covenant made “with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,” rather than with the Church of our day? Yes, but with Israel’s rejection of Christ and her temporary blindness the blessings of the New Covenant are now bestowed by grace upon those who do receive Christ. Hence, it was not Peter or the twelve, but Paul who, with his associates, was made an “able minister of the New Testament” (II Corinthians 3:6).

 

 

 

“My father considered himself to be the head of the family, and the rest of us were inclined to agree with him. He was not opposed to the posterior application of superior force, if necessary. He was not afraid he would frustrate Junior. He saw no conflict between love and discipline. Neither does the Bible. Our Lord said, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten” (Revelation 3:19).”

~Vance Havner

 

 

Not Now But Afterwards

By Vance Havner

 

What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.
John 13:7

Our Lord’s saying goes deeper than the immediate application of this precious word. God trusts some of His saints in the dark. To some He allows chapters that defy all explanation, that do not make sense, that seem to contradict all we have been taught to expect. From some He seems to withdraw His presence; some He lets pass from this world in strange and sinister ways. We must never make too much of deathbed stories, for some choice saints have had anything but a shouting exit.

We must take account of this, for all lives do not follow the ocurse we would have anticipated. Paul dropped from height to depth in the same chapter (II Corinthians 12), from third heaven to thorn in the flesh, and God may give us along with a mountain-top vision a dark valley where deliverance is not granted.

Some chapters are to be experienced now and understood hereafter. It is well to be forewarned about them and forearmed for them, even if they do not come, lest Satan overwhelm us as he sought to do with Job and Peter.

God marks across some of our days, “Will explain later.”

 

WordofGod#119

A Libel Against God

By A.W. Tozer

Human sin began with loss of faith in God! When our mother Eve listened to Satan’s—sly innuendoes against the character of God, she began to entertain a doubt of His integrity-and right there the doors were opened to the incoming of every possible evil and darkness settled upon the world. Relationship between moral beings is by confidence, and confidence rests upon character, which is a guarantee of conduct. God is a being of supreme moral excellence, possessing in infinite perfection all the qualities that constitute holy character. He deserves and invites the unreserved confidence of every moral creature, including man. Any proper relation to Him must be by confidence, that is, faith. Idolatry is the supreme sin and unbelief is the child of idolatry. Both are libels on the Most High and Most Holy. John wrote: “He that believeth not God hath made Him a liar.” A God who would lie is a God without character. Repentance is a man’s sincere apology for distrusting God for so long, and faith is throwing oneself upon Christ in complete confidence. Thus by faith reconciliation is achieved between God and man!

Verse

He that believeth not God hath made him a liar. 1 John 5:10

Thought

John wrote: “He that believeth not God hath made Him a liar.” A God who would lie is a God without character.

Prayer

Lord, thank You for being the One in whom my faith will never go unrewarded.

 

 

Adam and Eve, Good and Evil

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

 

Q.

Did Adam and Eve know of good and evil prior to sinning? It was only after Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that the Bible says they came “to know good and evil” (Genesis 3:5,22). How could God punish them for an evil action if they did not know what evil was?

A.

Consider a hypothetical situation: What if two godly parents living in the most wicked city in the world chose never to let their children out of their house. They gave them everything they needed for survival inside the house. They filled their home with only good things. Their children never saw evil on television, heard of it on the radio, nor read of it in books. The children could play in any room in the house and open any door, except they had been forbidden to open the front door that leads to “Sodom and Gomorrah.” Do these children know what they can do and cannot do? Yes. Have they seen, witnessed, or experienced the evil outside their house (and compared that evil to the good within their own house)? No. Everything in their house was good. They had the freedom to do any number of things within their own house. They were forbidden to do one thing: open the front door. Did they know they were not supposed to open the front door? Yes. But did they know of the evil on the other side? No. They had never seen it, heard it, thought it, or experienced it.

The term “know” (Hebrew yada, Greek ginosko) or one of its derivatives (i.e., knew, known, etc.) is used in Scripture in a variety of ways. Several times it refers to a man and woman having sexual intercourse (Genesis 4:1,17,25; Judges 11:39; 19:25). Jesus used the term to refer to His regard for His sheep (i.e., people—John 10:27). In contrast to the way of the wicked that will perish, the psalmist wrote that God “knows” (i.e., approves, takes delight in, etc.) the way of the righteous (Psalm 1:6). Paul used the term “know” in Ephesians 3:19 in the sense of knowing “experimentally what intellectually is beyond our powers of knowing”—the love of Christ (Jamieson, 1997). The fact is, like so many other words in Scripture (and in modern times) the word “know” has a variety of meanings.

When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden everything was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). They had the freedom to eat of “of every tree of the garden” (2:16), but were forbidden to eat of the fruit of one of them (2:17). They knew of God’s good creation and they knew that if they ate of “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (the one forbidden tree), God said they would die (3:2-3). However, it was not until after they ate of the forbidden tree that they actually “knew” (experienced) evil. Thus, in one sense Adam and Eve did know the difference between right and wrong, good and evil (they knew what they should and should not do; they understood moral distinctions), but they did not know of good and evil experientially until after their disobedience.

REFERENCE

Jamieson, Robert, et al. (1997), Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown Bible Commentary (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).

 



Copyright © 2009 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

We are happy to grant permission for items in the “Doctrinal Matters” section to be reproduced in their entirety, as long as the following stipulations are observed: (1) Apologetics Press must be designated as the original publisher; (2) the specific Apologetics Press Web site URL must be noted; (3) the author’s name must remain attached to the materials; (4) any references, footnotes, or endnotes that accompany the article must be included with any written reproduction of the article; (5) alterations of any kind are strictly forbidden (e.g., photographs, charts, graphics, quotations, etc. must be reproduced exactly as they appear in the original); (6) serialization of written material (e.g., running an article in several parts) is permitted, as long as the whole of the material is made available, without editing, in a reasonable length of time; (7) articles, in whole or in part, may not be offered for sale or included in items offered for sale; and (8) articles may be reproduced in electronic form for posting on Web sites pending they are not edited or altered from their original content and that credit is given to Apologetics Press, including the web location from which the articles were taken.

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Romans 14: Faith vs. Opinion (2 Translations of Romans 14 Follow this Article)

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

To sort out the difference between faith and opinion as it relates to the Bible, one must first define terms. By “faith” we mean those actions that are directed by God, arising from the Word of God (Romans 10:17). For example, partaking of the Lord’s Supper on Sunday is a matter of “faith,” in that it is stipulated by God (Matthew 26:26-29; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26). It is an action that God requires us to perform. When we speak of “opinion,” we are referring to a viewpoint or action that God has placed within the realm of personal preference. For example, whether we have two songs before the sermon vs. three; or whether we partake of the Lord’s Supper near the beginning of the worship period, or near the end. God has left as optional a great amount of viewpoints and actions—allowing people to exercise their own personal discretion.

God did this very thing at the beginning of human history. On the one hand, Adam and Eve were placed under very specific articles of “faith.” For one, they were not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. That stipulation was a matter of “faith,” i.e., God had legislated the matter. But the original pair was also given considerable latitude in exercising their own opinions. They could eat the fruit of any other tree on Monday, select another tree from which to eat on Tuesday, and still another on Wednesday. Eating from the Tree of Knowledge was a matter of “faith,” while eating any other tree was a matter of “opinion.”

Romans 14

Having defined our terms, let us turn our attention to two chapters in the New Testament that provide us with valuable information in sorting out the application of these principles in everyday life. Romans 14 has been a passage that has been used frequently in recent years to foster fellowship with denominationalism. They have contended that those denominational beliefs and practices with which churches of Christ disagree are not to be allowed to affect fellowship. For example, they have insisted that instrumental music in worship is strictly a matter of personal preference and tradition, and should be decided individually based on conscience. An appeal is made to Romans 14 to equate the use of the instrument with the eating of meat. It is then argued that those who are more spiritually mature may use the instrument in their worship to God. Those whose consciences prevent them from using the instrument are free to refrain from doing so. But they are the “weaker brother” and must not withhold fellowship from those who do use the instrument.

The first observation that is critical in making sense of this chapter is the fact that this context applies only to matters of opinion and indifference—not to matters of faith or doctrine. In his commentary on Romans, Moses Lard recognized this point when he wrote, “In matters of indifference, each man is a law to himself” (p. 412). He further stated, “it shows what liberty we have in the absence of divine command” (p. 412). In his commentary on Romans, David Lipscomb understood Romans chapter fourteen in the same fashion (1943, pp. 242ff.).

But what are “matters of indifference”? Matters of indifference refer to those practices that are indifferent to God—not to the individual. Obviously, the individual who believes he should not eat meat views his position as a serious “doctrinal” matter and, therefore, hardly “indifferent.” But we must understand that Romans 14 is speaking of those matters that are, in actuality, indifferent in the sight of God. For example, God has commanded Christians to spread the Gospel. The how of this action, whether by Internet, television, or automobile, is a matter of indifference to God. He authorizes us to use various means based upon our own good sense—our own consciences.

It is a misuse of Romans 14 to apply its teaching to any matter that is not indifferent to God. For example, God has specified that in order for a person to become a Christian, he/she must be immersed in water. Suppose a man believes that baptism can be by immersion, sprinkling, or pouring. To him, the “mode” of baptism is a matter of opinion—not faith. So he thinks that the person who limits the “mode” of baptism to strictly immersion is “narrow” and “weak in faith.” He would maintain that it is fine for his critic to be immersed if he so chooses, but this “weaker brother” should not bind his opinion on those who are “stronger” by insisting that only those who are immersed may be fellowshipped. This “stronger” fellow might even appeal to Romans 14 as support for his stance.

Yet, what this fellow would be failing to realize is that Romans 14 applies to matters of option that are indifferent to God. Where God has given His guidelines, all must conform to those specifications. Baptism, in God’s sight, is strictly immersion. Those who insist upon obeying God in this regard are not “weaker brethren.” Rather, they are faithful brethren; and those who differ are unfaithful to God.

Just as God has specified the action and design of baptism, He has been very specific with regard to the action of music in worship. If the use of the mechanical instrument in worship to God was optional, that is, if God left people free to offer musical worship in any form they so chose, then Romans 14 would be one passage that would be germane to such a discussion. But God has not left music in worship unaddressed. Neither has He left the question of the legitimacy of the denominations unaddressed. Denominationalism represents a departure from God’s simple will for His church. Romans 14 is of no help in assessing the legitimacy of either instrumental music or denominationalism.

Observe, then, that the one who is “weak in faith” in this chapter refers to the Christian whose knowledge, and therefore faith, has been insufficient in sorting out a particular issue that, in God’s sight, is a matter of opinion. Where the brother is “weak” is in the fact that he thinks that the issue under consideration is not a matter of opinion, but is, in fact, a matter of faith. The specific issues that Paul discusses pertain to the eating of certain foods and the observing of certain days. Regarding the former, one brother thinks that all foods may be eaten by Christians, while another brother thinks that Christians should be vegetarians. Regarding the latter, one brother thinks that certain days must be set aside and observed in special ways, while another brother recognizes no such requirements.

What is God’s view on this matter? Clearly, God’s view is that Christians are free to eat all foods. Jews had not been free in this regard. The Law of Moses contained numerous dietary regulations. But with the coming of Christianity, no such dietary regulations have been enjoined. Imposing such regulations on others constitutes “doctrines of demons,” as Paul explained in referring to those who were “commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:3-5). You remember the vision that Peter had in which he was commanded to kill and eat certain animals, to which he responded that he had never eaten anything that was “common or unclean.” The voice responded: “What God has cleansed you must not call common” (Acts 10:15). Paul states this point very emphatically in Romans 14:14—“I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself.”

So the Christian who understands that no restrictions apply to food under Christianity is the one who has grasped God’s view correctly. The Christian who thinks he should not eat certain foods is “weak in faith,” that is, his faith/belief on that particular point remains immature and uninformed by the Word of God (from whence faith arises). Due to previous beliefs and/or actions, likely learned while a non-Christian, his conscience was trained by his belief that he should not eat that particular food. A specific example would be a Jew who lived his whole life abstaining from pork which was deemed “unclean.” When he became a Christian, he might not immediately sort out the change. And even when he became aware of the correct viewpoint, it would be very difficult for him to start eating pork without his conscience bothering him. That is precisely why Paul insists that neither the stronger nor the weaker should “dispute” (vs. 1), “despise” (vs. 3), “judge” (vs. 4), or “show contempt” (vs. 10) for each other. Instead, both should want to show proper regard for each other’s consciences and spiritual well-being, and strive to encourage each other to be right with God and prepared for judgment (vss. 11-12).

The same may be said for the observance of a particular day. The context shows that the days under consideration are those that have no religious significance, i.e., they are days that are indifferent to God—like a birthday. The only day that has been legislated by God under Christianity is Sunday, the first day of the week. Christians are to assemble for worship on that day and approach God through the five avenues of worship that He, Himself, has stipulated (e.g., Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2). Sunday worship, therefore, is a matter of faith—not opinion. But other days, like birthdays, or national holidays like July 4, are matters of option that the Christian is free to observe. For the Jew who had lived his life observing the Sabbath, to suddenly not be required to abstain from labor on that day, he likely would have felt both a sense of release, but also a sense of fright and uncertainty. He would have to go through a period of struggling with and re-educating his conscience to bring his “head knowledge” into harmony with his feelings and long-term, deeply ingrained habit, before his conscience would not condemn him for Sabbath activity.

Notice, then, that the context refers to the observance of days that are religiously neutral and indifferent to God. They do not involve the observer in any unscriptural religious practice. Placing in juxtaposition this admonition in Romans 14 with a similar one in Galatians 4 will help us to see the distinction:

Again, Paul is not endorsing those who create their own “holy days” which they practice religiously. Christendom has generated an entire “Christian calendar” with numerous observances linked to events that occurred in the life of Christ (e.g., Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, Lent, etc.). All such observances are unscriptural since they presume to impose human thinking onto biblical precept, and dictate to God how to practice Christianity. Has God clearly indicated what event, if any, in the life of Christ He wants observed or commemorated? Absolutely—even stipulating the precise procedures to be enacted. He authorizes Christians to observe the death of Christ, every first day of the week, using bread and grape juice to symbolize the body and blood, and to think about His sacrifice while also taking an introspective look at one’s self (1 Corinthians 11:20-34). Beyond that, if God had wanted other events in Christ’s life to be commemorated, He would have said so.

But could a Jewish Christian continue to observe the Sabbath? Yes, if he did so without linking its observance to religious obligation. Since he could no longer be justified by the Old Law (Galatians 5:4), he must not observe it as if it is binding upon himself to be pleasing to God, and he must not bind it on others.

Paul issued another directive to be followed by the more mature Christians toward those Christians who had not yet assimilated proper teaching on the subject of food and days. The brother who recognizes that God permits the eating of a particular food must refrain from eating that food item under the following condition: if his eating would tempt or encourage or incite the brother who thinks it is wrong to eat it, to go ahead and eat it. The brother who thinks eating a particular food is wrong (even if, in God’s sight, it is not wrong) sins if he eats it. He has committed the sin of damaging or defiling his conscience.

1 Corinthians 8

This sin is clarified more vividly in the similar discussion that Paul directed to the Corinthian Christians regarding the eating of food that had been previously used in a pagan offering to an idol: 1 Corinthians 8. Paul insisted that no pagan gods exist (vs. 4) and, as long as a person does not intend to honor or worship a fake god, eating food that had been offered to them was optional. However, “there is not in everyone that knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled” (vs. 7). The term “conscience” in verses 7, 10, and 12 of 1 Corinthians 8 is suneidasis and refers to that inward faculty of moral/spiritual awareness that was created by God. We must not act in ways that damage (or “sear”—1 Timothy 4:2) our consciences. To do so is sin. The Christian who thinks a particular practice is wrong, when it is not wrong in God’s sight, should be about the business of re-educating his conscience, getting his thinking straight as informed by the Word of God. By that process, in time he will be able to rise above his immature assessment and feel fully “at home” with God’s view of the matter.

Furthermore, returning to Romans 14, the more mature Christian sins if his eating an authorized food prods the immature Christian to go against his conscience and consume a food that he thinks is wrong (“evil”—vs. 20) for the Christian to consume. The mature Christian is guilty of “grieving” (vs. 15), “destroying” (vss. 15,20), “offending” (vs. 21), “making weak” (vs. 21), and causing the weaker brother to “stumble” (vs. 21). In Paul’s treatment of this matter in 1 Corinthians 8, the stronger brother that so conducts himself is guilty of causing the weak brother to “perish” (vs. 11) by “wounding his weak conscience” (vs. 12).

Some Applications

Many churches have undergone internal disruption over an infinite variety of disagreements. These disagreements might be over what color of drapes ought to hang in front of the baptistery or what carpet should be on the floor. Dissension might occur over whether to build a new auditorium or multipurpose room, how to equip the kitchen, which songbooks or Bibles to buy for the pews, or whether a preacher ought to be hired or fired. Some attempt to derail the majority’s decision and get their own way by appealing to Romans 14. They insist that implementing the decision of the elders or the majority of the men would “offend” them. This tactic has been used far and wide to stymie the work of the church and prevent many positive actions from going forward.

In such instances, Romans 14 is misapplied in at least two ways: (1) Paul did not use the term “offend” merely to mean that a brother disagrees with or feels hurt by the decision. “Offend” is not defined as “ruffled feathers.” He used the term to refer to the weaker brother being led into sin. Specifically, Paul said the mature Christian ought to forego committing an action (like eating a particular food), if doing so would cause the immature Christian to engage in the same behavior in direct violation of his conscience. Placing red rather than beige curtains in front of the baptistery would hardly cause the dissenting brother to sin! (2) Those who use this tact would never cast themselves in the role of the weaker brother. They consider themselves the stronger brothers.

The fact is that if such individuals have scriptural grounds for objecting to a particular decision, rather than objecting solely out of personal opinion or preference, they should stake their case on scriptural grounds. Unfortunately, the church has always been plagued by some brethren whose ego, pride, and perhaps lust for power (like Diotrephes—3 John 9), drives them to attempt to control the church. In stark contrast, mature Christians will be extremely flexible, open-minded, and accommodative when it comes to matters of opinion in the church.

Another consideration regarding Romans 14 that helps us to distinguish between faith and opinion is seen in verses 22-23—

Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.

To “have faith” in a viewpoint/doctrine means that we are familiar with God’s view of the matter, knowing it to be optional and a matter of opinion. To “doubt” is to lack complete awareness or knowledge of a divine doctrine and/or to have hesitation to accept and enact it in one’s life. Specifically in the context, if a brother was uncertain about (doubted) whether he should eat a particular food, he would be guilty of sin if he went ahead and ate the food, because he would not be doing so “from faith,” i.e., he would be engaging in the action without being fully informed (by God’s Word) or fully convinced that such an action was acceptable to God. Since “faith comes by…hearing the word of God” (Romans 10:17), any action that a person engages in that does not have the authority/permission of God’s Word behind it, is a sinful action.

But how may the average Christian distinguish between matters of faith and matters of opinion? When a question or issue arises in the church, how do we know whether it is optional or obligatory? The answer is that we must study God’s Word carefully in order to apply its principles to the matter at hand. Excellent books have been written by Christians over the years detailing proper exegetical procedure for ascertaining God’s will on matters that are not specifically alluded to in Scripture. These include Thomas Warren’s When Is An “Example” Binding? and Logic and the Bible, Roy Deaver’s Ascertaining Bible Authority, D.R. Dungan’s Hermeneutics, et al. Such books help the student of the Bible to think through the principles involved in understanding God’s Word and applying that Word to the multitude of circumstances that arise in our lives. God’s Word was obviously written with a view toward the average human being capable of understanding God’s will for his or her life. Of course, diligence and effort must be brought to bear on the task (2 Timothy 2:15; Acts 17:11). But with adequate effort and interest in knowing God’s will, the goal can be achieved. No one can stand before God at the end of time and legitimately maintain that he was unable to recognize matters of faith and opinion.

CONCLUSION

May God help us to “pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another” (Romans 14:19). May we never “do anything by which our brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak” (vs. 21). May God help us to grow spiritually every day, that we might be people who are “strong in faith” (Romans 4:20), well able to distinguish between matters of opinion vs. matters of faith.

REFERENCES

Lard, Moses (1875), Commentary on Paul’s Letter to the Romans (Delight, AR: Gospel Light Publishing).

Lipscomb, David (1943), Romans (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate).



Copyright © 2015 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

We are happy to grant permission for items in the “Doctrinal Matters” section to be reproduced in their entirety, as long as the following stipulations are observed: (1) Apologetics Press must be designated as the original publisher; (2) the specific Apologetics Press Web site URL must be noted; (3) the author’s name must remain attached to the materials; (4) any references, footnotes, or endnotes that accompany the article must be included with any written reproduction of the article; (5) alterations of any kind are strictly forbidden (e.g., photographs, charts, graphics, quotations, etc. must be reproduced exactly as they appear in the original); (6) serialization of written material (e.g., running an article in several parts) is permitted, as long as the whole of the material is made available, without editing, in a reasonable length of time; (7) articles, in whole or in part, may not be offered for sale or included in items offered for sale; and (8) articles may be reproduced in electronic form for posting on Web sites pending they are not edited or altered from their original content and that credit is given to Apologetics Press, including the web location from which the articles were taken.

For catalog, samples, or further information, contact:

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U.S.A.
Phone (334) 272-8558(334) 272-8558

http://www.apologeticspress.org

 

Romans 14 — King James Version

Do Not Judge Your Brother

(Matthew 7:1-6; Luke 6:37-42)

1Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 2For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 3Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. 4Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

5One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 6He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. 7For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. 8For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. 9For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

10But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

11For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

12So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

Do Not Cause Your Brother to Stumble

(Ezekiel 14:1-11; 1 Corinthians 8:1-13)

13Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. 14I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. 16Let not then your good be evil spoken of: 17For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. 18For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. 19Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. 20For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. 21It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak. 22Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. 23And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

Romans 14 — Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Now as for a person whose trust is weak, welcome him — but not to get into arguments over opinions. One person has the trust that will allow him to eat anything, while another whose trust is weak eats only vegetables. The one who eats anything must not look down on the one who abstains; and the abstainer must not pass judgment on the one who eats anything, because God has accepted him — who are you to pass judgment on someone else’s servant? It is before his own master that he will stand or fall; and the fact is that he will stand, because the Lord is able to make him stand.

One person considers some days more holy than others, while someone else regards them as being all alike. What is important is for each to be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes a day as special does so to honor the Lord. Also he who eats anything, eats to honor the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; likewise the abstainer abstains to honor the Lord, and he too gives thanks to God. For none of us lives only in relation to himself, and none of us dies only in relation to himself; for if we live, we live in relation to the Lord; and if we die, we die in relation to the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord — indeed, it was for this very reason that the Messiah died and came back to life, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living. 10 You then, why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For all of us will stand before God’s judgment seat; 11 since it is written in the Tanakh,

“As I live, says Adonai, every knee will bend before me,
and every tongue will publicly acknowledge God.”[a]

12 So then, every one of us will have to give an account of himself to God.

13 Therefore, let’s stop passing judgment on each other! Instead, make this one judgment — not to put a stumbling block or a snare in a brother’s way. 14 I know — that is, I have been persuaded by the Lord Yeshua the Messiah — that nothing is unclean in itself. But if a person considers something unclean, then for him it is unclean; 15 and if your brother is being upset by the food you eat, your life is no longer one of love. Do not, by your eating habits, destroy someone for whom the Messiah died! 16 Do not let what you know to be good, be spoken of as bad; 17 for the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, shalom and joy in the Ruach HaKodesh. 18 Anyone who serves the Messiah in this fashion both pleases God and wins the approval of other people.

19 So then, let us pursue the things that make for shalom and mutual upbuilding. 20 Don’t tear down God’s work for the sake of food. True enough, all things are clean; but it is wrong for anybody by his eating to cause someone to fall away. 21 What is good is not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. 22 The belief you hold about such things, keep between yourself and God. Happy the person who is free of self-condemnation when he approves of something! 23 But the doubter comes under condemnation if he eats, because his action is not based on trust. And anything not based on trust is a sin.

Footnotes:

  1. Romans 14:11 Isaiah 45:23

 

 

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