Reading through Romans
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory. You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.
A reading from Romans: Romans 14:2–13a (NLT)
For instance, one person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? Their own master will judge whether they stand or fall. And with the Lord’s help, they will stand and receive his approval.
In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable. Those who worship the Lord on a special day do it to honor him. Those who eat any kind of food do so to honor the Lord, since they give thanks to God before eating. And those who refuse to eat certain foods also want to please the Lord and give thanks to God. For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves. If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. Christ died and rose again for this very purpose — to be Lord both of the living and of the dead.
So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For the Scriptures say, “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will declare allegiance to God.’”
Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. So let’s stop condemning each other.
Reflection: Romans 14:2–13a (John Stott, The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World)
The will of God for changed relationships: (Romans 12:1–15:13)
All believers, irrespective of their ethnic origin, are brothers and sisters in the one international family of God, and so all have precisely the same vocation to be the holy, committed, humble, loving and conscientious people of God.
(Romans 14:1-15:13) Our relationship to the weak: welcoming, and not despising, judging or offending them
If we are trying to picture a weaker brother or sister, we must not envisage a vulnerable Christian easily overcome by temptation, but a sensitive Christian full of indecision and scruples. What the weak lack is not strength of self-control but liberty of conscience.
2. The negative consequences (Romans 14:2–15:13)
(a) Do not despise or condemn the weak person (14:2–13a)
Four underlying theological principles:
(i) Welcome him because God has welcomed him (2–3)
The best way to determine what our attitude to other people should be is to determine what God’s attitude to them is. This principle is better even than the golden rule. It is safe to treat others as we would like them to treat us, but it is safer still to treat them as God does.
(ii) Welcome him because Christ died and rose to be the Lord (4–9)
[Paul] lifts the very mundane question of our mutual relationships in the Christian community to the high theological level of the death, resurrection and consequent universal lordship of Jesus. Because he is our Lord, we must live for him. Because he is also the Lord of our fellow Christians, we must respect their relationship to him and mind our own business. For he died and rose to be Lord.
(iii) Welcome him because he is your brother (10a)
We are related to one another in the strongest possible way, by family ties. Whether we are thinking of the weak, with all their tedious doubts and fears, or of the strong, with all their brash assurances and freedoms, they are our brothers and sisters. When we remember this, our attitude to them becomes at once less critical and impatient, more generous and tender.
(iv) Welcome him because we will all stand before God’s judgment seat (10b–13a)
Because God is the Judge and we are among the judged, let us stop passing judgment on one another, for then we shall avoid the extreme folly of trying to usurp God’s prerogative and anticipate judgment day.
“Revelation Song” – Kari Jobe
Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen