Devotional – Romans 14

As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. 

There is an old saying about opinions that they are like bellybuttons, everyone has one. In the church it’s no different, there are many opinions in the church about what is means to be a Christian, what it means to be holy and what is the evidence that you are really saved. One that I grew up with was going to movies, particularly R-rated movies was sinful – no Christian who is really saved should go to the movies. It was that kind of thing that was happening in the church at Rome, and probably among all Christians; there were many who were saying that Christians should abstain from eating certain foods (like meat sacrificed to idols – 1 Cor. 8) and others held certain days (the Sabbath) as better than other days. Paul here tells us that when it comes to opinions, that is when the Bible is not explicitly saying something that prohibits or requires, that we should not sit in judgment on those who hold such opinions, particularly when they are not our own opinions. God is our master and he is the one who determines how to judge his servants not us. What matters most when it comes to opinions is the one who follows certain rules honoring God – this is what Paul means when he says that the one who eats can honor God and the one who abstains can honor God, they both can have their opinion and be honoring to God. Where we dishonor God is when we force our opinion on others as a judgment of their Christianity. Let God be the judge – you serve him according to the Word he has given us and the conviction in your own heart and mind.

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