Following Jesus 123

Following Jesus: What kind of church are we? 

We recognize that all believers have opinions regarding morally neutral issues, but believers to never argue about those opinions. What they are commanded to do is follow two enduring principles of Christian liberty. 

First, believers must accept one another. Vs. 3-4. Secondly, believers must have full assurance of their convictions before God – vs. 5-12. Each believer should be fully convinced that what they do is pleasing to God. This is the Law of Liberty. 

Balancing the Law of Liberty (Romans 14:1-12) is the Law of Love (Romans 14:13-23). This a self-sacrificial love of the will. It is a love that is rooted and grounded in the very and character of God (I John 4:7-14). It is a love described in I Corinthians 13:4-8a as being patient, being kind and not jealous, not prone to brag, not arrogant, not acting unbecomingly, not seeking its own way, not easily provoked to anger, not taking into account a wrong suffered, not rejoicing in unrighteousness, but rejoicing with the truth. It is a love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. It is a love which never fails. 

What does this “Law of Love” the Apostle Paul speaks of in Romans 14:13-23 look like in the context of the neutral items and circumstances of life and living? Let’s take a look.

To begin with, it means that believers are not to pass judgment on one another regarding these neutral matters. “Therefore, let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.” Vs. 13. 

This does not refer to God’s explicit commandments that all believers are compelled by God to obey and to hold each other accountable (Matthew 18:15-20; Galatians 6:1-2). However, regarding the debatable issues of life, we are not to render opinions as to whether believers in those circumstances are right or wrong. We are to make no such judgments. 

Secondly, each of us should be fully convinced regarding our convictions. “I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.” Vs.14. 

Some people hold the conviction that it is wrong to eat in a restaurant on Sunday. Other well-meaning Christians hold no such conviction. Who is right, and who is wrong? Neither one. However, both groups must be convinced in their convictions and at the same time not judge or look down on the other for their contrasting convictions. 

Thirdly, we are not to grieve our brother or sister in Christ by our convictions. “For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.” Vs. 15-18. 

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