Romans 14 emphasises on spiritual growth as do other chapters
Romans 14:1– Paul says we should receive believers who are weak in faith. The Greek word for “weak” is “astheneō” and could refer to physical or spiritual weakness. The next two words let us know which one Paul was referring to, “in faith”, so it’s a spiritual weakness, just like the one spoken of in Romans 8:26. The weak ones spoken of were most likely new converts who still had a lot to learn about the faith. The Greek word for “but” used immediately after is “de” which means moreover or nevertheless. So, even as the strong receive the weak, there was to be no arguments about their doubts of what they believed to be right or wrong.
Romans 14:2– In this verse, astheneō is used once more. And Paul is taking about food now, you may wonder why. It might seem the weaker brother is one who still kept all the traditional laws but let’s look at Peter, he refused to eat “anything common or unclean” in Acts 10 but earlier in Acts 3:6, we see him heal in a crippled man. This is obviously not someone who is weak in faith. So who is the weaker brother? Let’s go into history a bit. In Rome, in those times, there was a majority of pagans and the only way the Jews could get meat was from pagan butchers, who had offered prayers to the Roman gods as they slaughtered the animals.
In 1 Corinthians Chapter 8, Paul talks about the weak in faith concerning food also. The strong brother knew that there is only one true God, therefore, idol worship was nothing. The weak brother here was still faced with temptations that an idol was “something” and was deserving of worship, and the best way to avoid worshipping it was to avoid meat in general, since most were used for idol worship, and eat vegetables instead. The strong one on the other hand, saw the sacrifice as nothing and ate meat.
14:3– The one who ate meat was probably looking down on the one who didn’t, as one who lacked faith. And the one who ate vegetables judged the “meat-eater” for idol-worshipping. Paul makes it clear that God accepts both parties.
14:4– Only a master has control over his servant and only what the master wants would the servant do. If God has accepted the servant, He supports him and makes him stand. Nobody else can say anything against such a servant.
14:5-6– One would think the day Paul spoke about was the Sabbath but here are some reasons why it may not be so:
- There is no mention of the Sabbath in this chapter.
- The chapter spoke about doubtful things, of which the Sabbath is not.
- To esteem everyday instead of just one day will mean everyday to be days of rest, if truly it referred to the Sabbath.
- God is the one who blessed and sanctified the Sabbath day, not man. We are only commanded to keep it that way. Therefore, man did not “esteem” the Sabbath.
Paul, most likely, was taking about fasting since this chapter is centered mostly on food. So, in verse 6, whether they fasted or not, all was to give God thanks.
14:7-8– We live to the Lord by doing His will here on earth, preaching the Gospel and working out our salvation. We die to the Lord for we know there is an afterlife in Christ. In Philippians 1:21, Paul says,
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”Philippians 1:21 KJV
14:9– Christ lived, died and rose never to die again. He conquered death and this makes Him Lord over both the living and the dead.
14:10-12– Paul instructs us not to look down on another believer for we will all stand before God and give personal accounts of our lives to Him. Verse 11 is quoted from Isaiah 45:23.
14:13– Instead of condemning another believer, do not do what would make another believer stumble and fall. Keep in mind 1 Corinthians 10:23,
“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.”1 Corinthians 10:23 KJV
14:14-15– By walking in love, we do not cause another believer to stumble. We should not let trivial things get in our way of fellowship. If a believer feels something is wrong, respect their opinion. Although, this should only be in terms of things that do not matter. In this case, food offered to idols. Otherwise, correct with love.
14:16-17– What one eats or drinks has no effect on God’s kingdom, so do not let what you see as “okay” be a stumbling block for another. The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
14:19-20– Instead of having disputes because of food, Paul tells the Romans to pursue peace and edification. Same goes for believers today, we should live in peace and edify ourselves.
14:22-23– Have faith in what you do. Paul said if one wanted to eat meat, feeling it was right, he could go ahead. But if he doubted in his heart that it wasn’t right and went ahead to eat it, he had sinned for he did it out of faith. If we were to do something we didn’t believe in as Christians, it doesn’t please God.
We’re just 2 chapters away from the end of our Romans Commentary and it’s been amazing so far. Although this chapter talks about food, it also says a lot about believers today. Some look down on or judge others because of irrelevant things like covering of hair or tattoos, Paul says all are accepted by God. Remember that, dear believer. I’ll see you next time ♥️