Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God
Which is to be understood, not of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the doctrines of the Gospel; for a man that has such faith given him, ought not to keep it in his own breast, but to declare it to others; he ought to make a public visible profession of it, before many witnesses; it becomes him to tell the church of God what great things the Lord has done for him; and as he believes with the heart, so he ought to make confession with the mouth unto salvation; but this faith only designs a full persuasion in a man's own mind, about the free and lawful use of things indifferent, the subject the apostle is upon; see ( Romans 14:5 Romans 14:14 ) ; and his advice on this head is, to keep this faith and persuasion in a man's own breast, and not divulge it to others, where there is danger of scandal and offence: he does not advise such to alter their minds, change their sentiments, or cast away their faith, which was right and agreeable to his own, but to have it, hold and keep it, though, within themselves; he would not have them openly declare it, and publicly make use of it, since it might be grieving and distressing to weak minds; but in private, and where there was no danger of giving offence, they might both speak of it, and use it; and if they could not, should satisfy themselves that God, who sees in secret, knows they have this faith, and sees their use of it, though others do not, for from him they have it; so the Ethiopic version reads it, and "if thou hast faith with thyself, thou art secure before God, from whom thou hast obtained it"; and should be thankful to him for it, and use it in such a manner as makes most for his glory, and the peace of his church since to him they must give an account another day: some copies and versions read without an interrogation, thou hast faith; and others, "thou, the faith which thou hast, have it to thyself" so the Alexandrian copy and the Syriac version.
Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he
or "approves of"; that is, it is well for that man who observes no difference of meats, if either he does not act contrary to his own conscience, and so condemns himself in what he allows himself in; or exposes himself to the censure, judgment, and condemnation of others, in doing that which he approves of as lawful, and is so, but unlawful when done to the offence of others: some understand this as spoken to the weak believer, signifying that he is in the right, who, through example, and the force of the sensual appetite, is not prevailed upon to allow himself to eat, contrary to his own conscience, and whereby he would be self-condemned; but as the strong believer is addressed in the beginning of the verse, I choose to think he is intended in this part of it; and the rather, because the weak believer is taken notice of in the next verse, with a peculiar view to this very thing.