Do Not Pass Judgment on One Another 14 1 As for m the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. 2 n One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and o let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. 4 p Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master 1 that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 5 q One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. r Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since s he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For t none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, u whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ v died and lived again, that he might be Lord both w of the dead and of the living. 10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For w we will all stand before x the judgment seat of God; 11 for it is written, y “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess 1 to God.” 12 So then z each of us will give an account of himself to God. Do Not Cause Another to Stumble 13 a Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide b never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus c that nothing is unclean in itself, d but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. 15 For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, e you are no longer walking in love. f By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. 16 g So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17 h For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but i of righteousness and j peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is k acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then let us l pursue what makes for peace and for m mutual upbuilding. 20 n Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. o Everything is indeed clean, but p it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21 q It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. 1 22 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. r Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. 1
14 1 Τὸν δὲ ἀσθενοῦντα τῇ πίστει προσλαμβάνεσθε, μὴ εἰς διακρίσεις διαλογισμῶν. 2 ὃς μὲν πιστεύει φαγεῖν πάντα, ὁ δὲ ἀσθενῶν λάχανα ἐσθίει. 3 ὁ ἐσθίων τὸν μὴ ἐσθίοντα μὴ ἐξουθενείτω, ὁ δὲ μὴ ἐσθίων τὸν ἐσθίοντα μὴ κρινέτω, ὁ θεὸς γὰρ αὐτὸν προσελάβετο. 4 σὺ τίς εἶ ὁ κρίνων ἀλλότριον οἰκέτην; τῷ ἰδίῳ κυρίῳ στήκει ἢ πίπτει• σταθήσεται δέ, δυνατεῖ γὰρ ὁ κύριος στῆσαι αὐτόν. 5 Ὃς μὲν [γὰρ] κρίνει ἡμέραν παρʼ ἡμέραν, ὃς δὲ κρίνει πᾶσαν ἡμέραν• ἕκαστος ἐν τῷ ἰδίῳ νοῒ πληροφορείσθω. 6 ὁ φρονῶν τὴν ἡμέραν κυρίῳ φρονεῖ • καὶ ὁ ἐσθίων κυρίῳ ἐσθίει, εὐχαριστεῖ γὰρ τῷ θεῷ• καὶ ὁ μὴ ἐσθίων κυρίῳ οὐκ ἐσθίει καὶ εὐχαριστεῖ τῷ θεῷ. 7 οὐδεὶς γὰρ ἡμῶν ἑαυτῷ ζῇ καὶ οὐδεὶς ἑαυτῷ ἀποθνῄσκει• 8 ἐάν τε γὰρ ζῶμεν, τῷ κυρίῳ ζῶμεν, ἐάν τε ἀποθνῄσκωμεν, τῷ κυρίῳ ἀποθνῄσκομεν. ἐάν τε οὖν ζῶμεν ἐάν τε ἀποθνῄσκωμεν, τοῦ κυρίου ἐσμέν. 9 εἰς τοῦτο γὰρ Χριστὸς ἀπέθανεν καὶ ἔζησεν, ἵνα καὶ νεκρῶν καὶ ζώντων κυριεύσῃ. 10 Σὺ δὲ τί κρίνεις τὸν ἀδελφόν σου; ἢ καὶ σὺ τί ἐξουθενεῖς τὸν ἀδελφόν σου; πάντες γὰρ παραστησόμεθα τῷ βήματι τοῦ θεοῦ, 11 γέγραπται γάρ• ζῶ ἐγώ, λέγει κύριος, ὅτι ἐμοὶ κάμψει πᾶν γόνυ καὶ πᾶσα γλῶσσα ἐξομολογήσεται τῷ θεῷ. 12 ἄρα [οὖν] ἕκαστος ἡμῶν περὶ ἑαυτοῦ λόγον δώσει [τῷ θεῷ]. 13 Μηκέτι οὖν ἀλλήλους κρίνωμεν• ἀλλὰ τοῦτο κρίνατε μᾶλλον, τὸ μὴ τιθέναι πρόσκομμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ ἢ σκάνδαλον. 14 οἶδα καὶ πέπεισμαι ἐν κυρίῳ Ἰησοῦ ὅτι οὐδὲν κοινὸν διʼ ἑαυτοῦ, εἰ μὴ τῷ λογιζομένῳ τι κοινὸν εἶναι, ἐκείνῳ κοινόν. 15 εἰ γὰρ διὰ βρῶμα ὁ ἀδελφός σου λυπεῖται, οὐκέτι κατὰ ἀγάπην περιπατεῖς• μὴ τῷ βρώματί σου ἐκεῖνον ἀπόλλυε ὑπὲρ οὗ Χριστὸς ἀπέθανεν. 16 μὴ βλασφημείσθω οὖν ὑμῶν τὸ ἀγαθόν. 17 οὐ γάρ ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ βρῶσις καὶ πόσις ἀλλὰ δικαιοσύνη καὶ εἰρήνη καὶ χαρὰ ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ• 18 ὁ γὰρ ἐν τούτῳ δουλεύων τῷ Χριστῷ εὐάρεστος τῷ θεῷ καὶ δόκιμος τοῖς ἀνθρώποις. 19 Ἄρα οὖν τὰ τῆς εἰρήνης διώκωμεν καὶ τὰ τῆς οἰκοδομῆς τῆς εἰς ἀλλήλους . 20 μὴ ἕνεκεν βρώματος κατάλυε τὸ ἔργον τοῦ θεοῦ. πάντα μὲν καθαρά , ἀλλὰ κακὸν τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ τῷ διὰ προσκόμματος ἐσθίοντι. 21 καλὸν τὸ μὴ φαγεῖν κρέα μηδὲ πιεῖν οἶνον μηδὲ ἐν ᾧ ὁ ἀδελφός σου προσκόπτει . 22 σὺ πίστιν [ἣν] ἔχεις κατὰ σεαυτὸν ἔχε ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ. μακάριος ὁ μὴ κρίνων ἑαυτὸν ἐν ᾧ δοκιμάζει• 23 ὁ δὲ διακρινόμενος ἐὰν φάγῃ κατακέκριται, ὅτι οὐκ ἐκ πίστεως• πᾶν δὲ ὃ οὐκ ἐκ πίστεως ἁμαρτία ἐστίν.
One (Romans 14)
Mission and Maturity when we Disagree Part 1: Live as people who have been welcomed by God Intro : Our mini-series. One: Romans 14, today. Two: 1 Peter 2, be subject for the Lord's sake. Three: Romans 13, show honour all round. The guiding principle. Expect this to be uncomfortable! Pick up from end of 2 Peter, 'distortion'. How we add, and make subtle rules which are distortions, and which don't have the result of making disciples. This is one of the passages in the Bible which reminds us that maturity and knowledge are not necessarily the same thing. One key test of Christian maturity is in how you respond when you disagree. Since it reveals, w hat do we actual unify on and around? Where is my identity? Here is a clear example: Christian maturity is learned, tested, and shown in relationship. You can't ignore these kinds of passages by claiming that they no longer apply (eg because of overlap of covenants). Rather, they are giving crucial principles for healthy Christian living. The examples Paul gives don't even fit into an overlap of the covenants idea anyway; eating everything versus eating vegetables? We should be very wary of readings of the Bible that basically say, 'this has no relevance or application to us anymore.' The fact is, Paul identifies two groups. And doesn't say who is 'right', as that isn't actually the point! He says who he personally agrees with, but all along he's saying that both groups are welcomed by God and will be upheld by Jesus. Some of us seem unable to grasp the fact that there is more to discipleship than being right. 'Weak' - more timid, more prone to find security in rules and principles. 'Strong' (though the word is not used) - more confident, more prone to accept greater freedom. NB domain dependent. People might be 'weak' regards covid but 'strong' regards alcohol, etc. Note how historical perspectives immediately help us get some fresh air. E.g., no one argues today about the merits of boarding school as 'the' form of christian education; few Christian meals end with cigars and pipes, etc. As a 'safe' example for us to refer to throughout, w here should the pastor park? Everyone can argue a very spiritual point. The best spot - honour him more? The worst spot, since he should be model servant? Or, anywhere - he shouldn't be any different? 'Disputed things' can include...Brexit; parenting and education choices; Smoking; Alcohol, TV, many angles of Coronavirus (eg how politicised is this, what should church look like); and a constant stream of new things. 1. Whether we live or die, we are the Lord's (v1-12) v1 Weak in faith? Welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. This is already quite challenging; sometimes we can like having people in the church because they give us someone to feel self-righteous in relation to. v2-4 an example. What does it mean to pass judgement? God has welcomed him. Welcome, again. You and I both are forgiven sinners; what right to pass judgement? Jesus will make me stand. He is not the accuser of the brethren. v5-9 Another example. Be fully convinced in your own mind. 'Conscience', not an excuse to do whatever you like. A muscle to train. So that Jesus is Lord literally of all in my life. This is a challenge to both of us: if you take a position I disagree with, will I accept and welcome you? And are you genuinely taking that position in honour of the Lord, or in honour of a cherished principle, or out of fear of something (e.g., fear of man, or of stepping out of comfort zone)? Romans 14.5-8 crucial. The kind of thinking and reasoning we want to train is that which is fully convinced, and towards the Lord. cf training the conscience the wrong way is like practising not stopping for red lights. v10-12 it's not for us to judge (as in condemn; we obviously have to make assessments and decisions), but for Jesus. And he's the one who died for us; no condemnation. But cf v4 he will make us 'stand'. Application directions: If I threaten and frustrate you by my stance on XYZ, then that shows your ego is still tethered to your little world and your 'self'. cf 2+2 =4, you can calmly explain and defend since your ego is not bound up in it. So our anger is not really about 'truth' but about 'self'. v4 will your manner and actions show that others are already approved by Jesus, even though they may be 'wrong' on all manner of issues to my mind. Some people actually need to resist true community, since to embrace others would either a) expose their own fiercely protected issues of sin and shame, and/or b) tear down the caricature of others. 'I need to be able to keep believing [and leading my family to believe perhaps too] that I'm right [and our tribe] and you're wrong [and your tribe], otherwise I'll have some fundamental rethinking to do and that's just too threatening'. 2. So focus more on building others up than on proving yourself right (v13-23) v13 therefore. What to do instead. We've already had 'welcome them' and 'don't pass judgement'. Now as well, 'never put a stumbling block in their way'. v14-15 an example of this mindset. Don't 'destroy' one of Jesus' people. We are to be people who 'walk in love'. v16-19 What you regard as good. 'Do not let your good be blasphemed'. I.e., people of life and rescue must not be people of death and destruction. FOR the KoG is shown in its dynamic and tone, and not in the formal outward structures. Islamic approach to the gospel (uniformity by pressure and rejection), or a gospel approach to the gospel (unity from mutual acceptance). It should not be about frowns and scowls, but about warmth and blessing and smiles and welcome. v19 so, work to build up, work to make peace. You won't ultimately regret it, whereas by choosing scowls and judgment you eventually will. v17 the functional dynamic of wholeness in human and divine relationships. Not the outward formalism of all looking and being the same. v20 unpacked; this means, in practice, that you limit yourself out of love for others. Not freedom robustly expressed, but freedom freely limited. Jesus is our example. What does maturity look like? Not full self-expression, but freely chosen limitations [e.g., motherhood] v23 this is actually the route to teaching people the joy of living by faith. Not fear of man. Even the outward uniformity of rules and appearances wouldn't be pleasing in God's sight, since it is not coming from a place of God-centred worship, but of doubts and fear of man. v23 key. You can do supposedly hardcore Christian things actually from a desire to fit in, or to impress, a certain crowd, or actually out of fear. Not from a positive faith that this is how God wants you to live. Application directions: We need to shift off from who is 'right', to who is building the other up. Test case: Paul fights against circumcision, yet has Timothy circumcised. Appeals to citizen rights in some places but not others. Look at Jesus' own interactions. Only in the ultimate, end-case final lawsuit is it 'woe to you for being wrong'. Everything before that is an indirect coming alongside in the goal of building up. What about differences between church traditions? When should we divide then? Recommend Finding the Right Hills to Die On also Naselli on Conscience . The Scriptures give us a clear lead on this. Formal organisational separation is distinct from non-relationship and animosity. Posture. Doing whatever makes for peace and mutual upbuilding. How do people actually get built up? First of all by being safe and accepted. Growth happens in genuine community. People generally don't grow by being told they're wrong. Most growth is slow and indirect. Affirmation! Communicate more than you think you need to. Spend more time than is 'efficient'. Some people find the sheer fact of difference threatening. They can't relate to people in any real way because of that. They don't realise it's possible to love people dearly and truly, without needing them. That's what it comes back to. I don't need you to affirm my convictions. I might like it, but I don't need it. And since I don't need you, I can love you truly and freely. Also, I can love you and serve you, but if you don't change and don't grow, or if you even betray me and bite me, I'm ok with that. I don't need you to be fixed in order for me to be ok. I don't need you as a 'project'. Rom 14.17 i.e., the Kingdom of God is not in formal uniform outward structures, but in an actual dynamic, it's functional. Hence, relational. God's glory : he welcomes me as I am, warts and all, and is committed to building me up without giving up on me! FCF : We pass judgment on others, and tear them down and destroy them. For our own ego's sake. We tear down others to justify ourselves. I need you to be wrong in order for me to be right (eg alcohol, schooling, covid). H1. Judgemental and self-righteous about all manner of things culturally H2. We will tear down other Christians outside our tribe, actually because we want to preserve our own little zone of self-righteousness. We have zero-sum interactions intent on winning rather than on blessing. Person of Jesus : he welcomes sinners and builds them up. They have a place at his table. Work of Jesus: he was destroyed on that cross so that his people would never be. He endured our judgement so that we might stand at the judgement and be vindicated. Union with Jesus : in Him I learn to receive and welcome others simply because they are Jesus' people. I am learning what it means to focus on upbuilding rather than winning. Invitation : come and live a new way, of welcoming and using freedom to build others up through your self-limitation. Confrontation : stop tearing others down. Repent of self-righteousness. Consolation : you live to God, he will make you stand! He welcomes you as a sinner. Have you been bruised by others? Know that Jesus smiles upon you and welcomes you with open arms. Wrap up : See also 1 Corinthians 8 We have to have this in place! Since we're all on a journey, and all a work in progress. We need to be safe to grow and change and mature, and to do that through actual faith and conscience, not fear and peer pressure. Repeat my earlier paragraph about the Donatist split; the bigger difficulty for the church was not being sustained through persecution, but expressing true gospel unity.