And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to
the which also ye are called in one body;and be ye thankful.
Do You Strive for Peace with Others?
Romans14:14-23 Nov. 20 2011
How are we to approach “disputable matters”? Not by looking at how others pass judgment, but instead by examining what we do! And the question we need to ask is not, “Do we have the freedom to do this?” but rather, “Will my exercise of freedom cause harm to a brother/sister?”
And the Gentiles exhorted to take heed of giving offence in their use of indifferent things.
1. “Instead” (Romans 14:13-18)
Romans 14:13 Therefore let us no longer judge one another; but, instead of that, you should come to this judgement—that we must not put a stumbling-block in our brother’s path, nor anything to trip him up. 14 As one who lives in union with the Lord Jesus, I know and am certain that in its own nature no food is ‘impure’; but if people regard any food as impure, to them it is. 15 If your brother is pained by the food you are eating, your conduct is no longer controlled by love. Take care lest, by the food you eat, you lead to ruin a man for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let the boon which is yours in common be exposed to reproach. 17 For the Kingdom of God does not consist of eating and drinking, but of right conduct, peace and joy, through the Holy Spirit; 18 and whoever in this way devotedly serves Christ, God takes pleasure in him, and men highly commend him.
Christ deals gently with those who have true grace, though they are weak in it. Consider the design of Christ’s death: also that drawing a soul to sin, threatens the destruction of that soul. Did Christ deny himself for our brethren, so as to die for them, and shall not we deny ourselves for them, so as to keep from any indulgence? We cannot hinder ungoverned tongues from speaking evil; but we must not give them any occasion. We must deny ourselves in many cases what we may lawfully do, when our doing it may hurt our good name. Our good often comes to be evil spoken of, because we use lawful things in an uncharitable and selfish manner. As we value the reputation of the good we profess and practise, let us seek that it may not be evil-spoken of. Righteousness, peace, and joy, are words that mean a great deal. As to God, our great concern is to appear before him justified by Christ’s death, sanctified by the Spirit of his grace; for the righteous Lord loveth righteousness. As to our brethren, it is to live in peace, and love, and charity with them; following peace with all men. As to ourselves, it is joy in the Holy Ghost; that spiritual joy wrought by the blessed Spirit in the hearts of believers, which respects God as their reconciled Father, and heaven as their expected home. Regard to Christ in doing our duties, alone can make them acceptable. Those are most pleasing to God that are best pleased with him; and they abound most in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. They are approved by wise and good men; and the opinion of others is not to be regarded.
2. “Destroy” (Romans 14:19-23)
Romans 14:19 Therefore let us aim at whatever makes for peace and mutual upbuilding of character. 20 Do not for food’s sake be throwing down God’s work. All food is pure; but a man is in the wrong if his food is a snare to others. 21 The right course is to forego eating meat or drinking wine or doing anything that tends to your brother’s fall. 22 As for you and your faith, keep your faith to yourself in the presence of God. The man is to be congratulated who does not pronounce judgement on himself in what his actions sanction. 23 But he who has misgivings and yet eats meat is condemned already, because his conduct is not based on faith; for all conduct not based on faith is sinful.
Many wish for peace, and talk loudly for it, who do not follow the things that make for peace. Meekness, humility, self-denial, and love, make for peace. We cannot edify one another, while quarrelling and contending. Many, for meat and drink, destroy the work of God in themselves; nothing more destroys the soul than pampering and pleasing the flesh, and fulfilling the lusts of it; so others are hurt, by wilful offence given. Lawful things may be done unlawfully, by giving offence to brethren. This takes in all indifferent things, whereby a brother is drawn into sin or trouble; or has his graces, his comforts, or his resolutions weakened. Hast thou faith? It is meant of knowledge and clearness as to our Christian liberty. Enjoy the comfort of it, but do not trouble others by a wrong use of it. Nor may we act against a doubting conscience. How excellent are the blessings of Christ’s kingdom, which consists not in outward rites and ceremonies, but in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost! How preferable is the service of God to all other services! and in serving him we are not called to live and die to ourselves, but unto Christ, whose we are, and whom we ought to serve.
Instead each person needs to be sensitive to how his or her choices affect others and choose to do those things which “lead to peace and to mutual edification” . In this way we protect each person’s conscience and the quality of his or her personal relationship with the Lord .
Robert G OHaver
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