The New Testament reading for Wednesday, May 24 is:

Romans 14

Do Not Pass Judgment on One Another

14:1 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 [1] 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. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11 for it is written,

“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall confess [2] to God.”

12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Do Not Cause Another to Stumble

13 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. 14 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. 15 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. 16 So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. [3] 22 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. [4] (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 14:4 Or lord
[2] 14:11 Or shall give praise
[3] 14:21 Some manuscripts add or be hindered or be weakened
[4] 14:23 Some manuscripts insert here 16:25-27


English Standard Version: Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text provided by the Crossway Bibles Web Service.

New Testament Pastoral Commentary for Romans 14
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie
In my final blog after my Canada to Mexico bike ride I offered a few philosophical musings one of which was, "Beer, ice cream and big juicy hamburgers taste a lot better when you've been on your bike all day." Indeed! Yesterday after working in the yard under the hot sun for an hour or two I had a cold beer. I don't think a beer has ever tasted better! In fact, I told my wife, "That's the smallest beer I ever drank!", since it seemed to go down so well. On the other hand, I remember an occasion when my wife and I were having dinner in a restaurant and I was enjoying a cold beer with my meal. A good friend and his wife came into the restaurant and greeted us before sitting down at the table next to ours. He was a fellow pastor from a denomination that views any use of alcohol as being sinful. I immediately felt uncomfortable. I continued to drink my beer, but I have to confess that I didn't enjoy it at all. What was the problem? Paul put his finger on it in Romans 14. "Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall." (vs. 19-21) The problem was not that I suddenly realized I was sinning. I was not. The problem was that I didn't want to be doing anything that might cause someone else to stumble. I believe my friend was strong enough in his faith that my use of alcohol did not cause him to fall, but I was troubled, nevertheless, because he was a dear friend in Christ and I didn't want to offend him, tempt him, or even treat his understanding of right action (not using alcohol) with contempt. Two points grow out of this discussion. We must always be aware of how our actions can effect others. We need to be concious of the example we are setting or the standards we are upholding by our actions. Second we must always care enough about those around us to limit our freedom if exercising it might cause them to fall. Paul writes: "If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." (vs. 15-17) Since our brother or sister in Christ is so precious to our Lord that he died for them, we ought to care enough to try to avoid anything that might cause them to stumble. "For freedom Christ has set you free" Paul wrote in Galatians 5:1. However, if we use our freedom in such a way that it destroys the faith of a brother or sister in Christ, then what we consider good will be spoken of as evil. The love of Christ should empower us to place limits on our own freedom out of concern for a brother or sister in Christ. It's the least we can do for one for whom Christ died, and it's a practical demonstration of our Savior's love.