Thursday, March 6, 2014

Romans 14:1-8

Love one another in the faith…even when you disagree. This is how Paul starts off Romans 14. Coming from Romans 13, where He says to love your brother, he begins chapter 14 with “even when you are different, receive him.” 
Don’t lose sight of Paul’s heart in the matter though. He says “receive him, but not to doubtful disputations.” “Doubtful?” This is the opposite of faith. This is “faithless.” Don’t have him in and then begin the battle of the minds, absent of faith. Rather have him in, because you love him. Don’t bring him in so that you can shame him with your incredible mind. 
This faith-only approach is how Paul outlines his presentation of the gospel to the church at Corinth (1 Cor. 2:1-5). Because a brother convinced by you and not by the Spirit, is faithless/doubtful and will either change again, later, when a better charlatan with a richer vocabulary comes along, or he will not change, but only follow after you and not God. You won’t truly win over your brother with anything. Only the Spirit can permanently change hearts and minds. 
Paul then takes this concept and plays it out in illustration. Verse 2 says that one man believes that he may eat all things. Another disagrees. They do not have to part ways over these standards. Both are following what they believe the Spirit has called them to in their personal walk with Christ, and there is not a Scriptural mandate against either of them. They both, according to Paul, should be able to dwell together in brotherly love and minister for Christ in the church.
Unfortunately, that is not the case today. Too often side-issues sidetrack the work of God. Don’t get caught up in the sidetracking of the ministry of God. Keep the main thing (the gospel) the main thing, and the Spirit will line up the rest for you.

Food for Thought: Read Romans 14:1-8. What is the reaction you should have towards those whose standards you think are too strict or lax?