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Romans 14

SUMMARY.--Differences Concerning Food and Holy Days. We May not Condemn One Another for Things Indifferent. Let Us not Judge One Another. Let Us be Charitable to Each Other. The Kingdom Higher than Meats, Drinks, or Days. Do Nothing Doubtful in your Mind.

      14, 15. I know . . . in the Lord Jesus. The conviction is that of a mind in communion with Christ, enlightened by his Spirit. That nothing. No kind of food. Is unclean of itself. Is by its own nature such that it is a sin to partake of it. The legal distinction between clean and unclean animals is abolished. But to him. If one, uninstructed, considers anything unclean, to his conscience it is so. It is wrong for him to eat it. 15. If thy brother is grieved with thy meat. If his feelings are hurt because you eat food that he thinks it is sinful to eat, it would be charitable for you to abstain from it for his sake. Destroy not him. His grief, and the effect upon him of seeing you do what he regards as sinful, may be to destroy him. It is kinder to give up the meat than to risk his destruction. If Christ died for him, you surely can do that much.

      16-18. Let not then your good be evil spoken of. You have greater knowledge than these weak brethren, and know that "nothing is unclean." That is "good." But if you sternly insist on your right to do what the weak regard as sinful, your "good" will be evil spoken of. 17. For the kingdom of God. Christ's dominion; the church visibly; personally, his sway over your soul. This does not depend on meat and drink. It rises higher than food questions. Personally, its essence is not in external things. It consists of righteousness. Justification; the forgiveness of sins. Peace. Reconciliation to God, and peace of soul as the result. Joy in the Holy Ghost. The rejoicing of those who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Seek these rather than to eat and drink what you will.

      19-23. Let us therefore follow . . . peace. Hence, charitably yield what grieves a brother. May edify. Build up and make strong. Compare 1 Thess. 5:11 . 20. For meat destroy not. A rigid insistence on eating the meat so offensive to some of the brethren may rend the church. All things indeed are pure. All kinds of food are morally clean. See verse 14 . But it is evil. It is morally unclean to him who eateth with hurt to his conscience. 21. It is good neither to eat flesh, etc. If eating any kind of food, or drinking wine, is the way of your brother's peace and security, it is better to abstain from both. Deny yourself rather than offend a brother. Compare 1 Cor. 8:13 . This maxim applies to all things indifferent. It applies to wine-drinking at our time. No Christian ought ever to set an example that may destroy another. 22. Hast thou faith? Art thou strong in the faith, and possessed of knowledge that the weaker brethren have not? Let God take not of it, but do not parade it before the weak. Happy is he that condemneth not himself, etc. If one "allowed" that he had the right to eat all kinds of meats, etc., and did it to the injury of his brother, he would condemn himself, because he trampled on the law of love. 23. He that doubteth is damned if he eat. He is contrasted with him "who has faith" ( verse 22 ). He has not faith, or does not believe that it is right to eat these meats. Hence he is condemned ("damned") by his own conscience. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin. The context shows that Paul means that whenever actions are done by a Christian which he does not believe are right, he sins in doing them. If he is doubtful whether they are right, he must not do them.

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