August 21, 2015
READ: Romans 14:1-23
Those who eat any kind of food do so to honour the Lord, since they give thanks to God before eating. And those who refuse to eat certain foods also want to please the Lord (v.6).
How do you discover God’s will in disputable matters? One believer in Jesus orders a glass of wine in a restaurant, while another believes drinking alcohol is wrong. One invites you to see a film that someone else will not view due to its violence and profanity. So how do you make a decision on whether or not to do something when even mature Christians disagree over it?
This question troubled the church in Rome. Some Christians felt obligated to observe Jewish dietary and Sabbath laws, while others believed they no longer applied. Paul sided with the latter, but he thought that was beside the point. More important than who was right was how everyone got along. Paul offered three questions that apply to any decision:
Am I violating another believer’s freedom? Paul told those who possess a weaker faith not to condemn those who “eat certain foods” or “think every day is alike” (Romans 14:3-10). Each person must answer to God, who alone “will judge whether they stand or fall” (v.4). We must give each other space to stand before God, condemning only activities that Scripture clearly indicates are wrong.
Will this edify other believers? Paul warned stronger believers in Jesus not to flaunt their freedom, for they could “ruin someone for whom Christ died” (v.15). The right thing done in the wrong way is still sin. Paul explained, “It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble” (v.21).
365-day-plan: Luke 17:20-37
Read 1 Corinthians 10:23â€“11:1 to learn how to use your freedom responsibly in disputable matters.
Why is it vital that you consider other believers’ views instead of forcing your own on them? How can the gratitude test help with a decision you need to make today?