1. Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.
2. One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.
4. Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 5. One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7. For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone.
8. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.
10. You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat.
11. It is written: "`As surely as I live,' says the Lord, `every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.'"
12. So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. 13. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way. 14. As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. 15. If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. 16. Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. 17. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18. because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.
19. Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall. 22. So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23. But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.
Romans 14 has always had a special place in my heart. In it is such basic common sense and good advice it can almost be missed if one is not careful. Considering in the time of Paul that many Christians found themselves wondering what to do about meat sacrificed to idols. On one hand the best and most in expensive meat was the meat sacrifice in the pagan temples. Often in these temples which in some regard where like our modern day union meeting places, would sacrifice an animal to the god of their specific job title. The blacksmiths would sacrifice to the god of smithery and the construction builders would sacrifice to the god of building to over simplify this. Most probably did not believe it was to an actual “god”, but did it out of social and political motives as part of tradition in keeping with their job.
With this often priests were also “butchers” and would take the sacrifice and sell it right out the back door. This was fresh and often the best cuts so it was well sought after.
So even Christians would buy it and sometimes not know if it was from the temple or if it was just butchered without sacrificed.
Paul was questioned whether it was acceptable that one eat this meat. Yet, if Paul stated no, it could be taken as a legal law and requirement from him that would negate the very Grace he taught. Yet, to say yes, would leave many feeling condemned in their own minds and also cut across the teaching of the cleansing of Christ Jesus. Paul knew that to say one thing over the other would harm the faith.
Wisely, Paul also understood there was “no God but one” (1 Cor 8:4) and that being true, knew men were safe to eat as long as they recognized that all things are of God and if bless is blessed. Paul also realized that there were the “weaker” whose faith was not strong enough to see that there be but one God. Paul called those who see that there be One God to be gracious to those who were either lacking in the fullness of faith or of the fullness of understanding that God is One.
We must consider those who are not yet grown in the faith. Some be they young or even in the faith for years, are still immature in their understand should be treated with love and grace. If for example one has had trouble with alcohol, and you have reached the point that you can partake without self condemnation or falling into drunkenness. You are in fact “free” from the bondage. You should not push or put done the one who still has issue or struggles with the alcohol. This carries over into things like Christian rick music and so on.
We should not deny our own freedom and bow to other men over their will or weakness of their will, yet we should not lord over others our freedom.
Now, also we need be aware we should not judge those that are freer than we may be ourselves or judge those who are less free. Paul’s solution was that if it is a sin to you, don’t do it as it is a sin… if it is not a sin to you; you are free, but don’t judge your brother. The Kingdom of God is not about food. It is about righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. We need also remember that the Kingdom is not about music, or even Theology. We can argue and fight, yet if it is contrary to righteousness, peace and joy, it is contrary to the Kingdom.