Journal – October 11, 2020
1 Samuel 22:15
15 Did I then begin to enquire of God for him? Be it far from me: let not the king impute any thing unto his servant, nor to all the house of my father: for thy servant knew nothing of all this, less or more.
THE LAW OF LIBERTY
Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. 2 For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. 3 Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. 4 Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.5 One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.
As we enter into the 14th chapter of Romans it might be profitable to remember that Paul is writing from Corinth (a pagan city with corrupt morals) where he saw sin at its worst. We find that Paul had problems with some of the professing Christians and they had to be instructed in the truth. He desired to have the Roman Christians well instructed in their behavior. He is also speaking to us today (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Vs. 1 Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. Paul, in addressing the Romans is implying that the church at Rome was not as a whole made up of weak believers, but that the weak were there in a minority. He writes Receive one, the exhortation is made to the strong—there is to be no discrimination in respect to confidence, esteem, and affection. In just a few more verses we will find out what the apostle is writing about, but for the time being don’t let your opinion be harmful to one who is weak in the faith. We all have our opinions over the Scriptures, in fact if we are not careful, we may be guilty of disputing over doubtful things. The word diakrisis translated disputes literally means not for decisions of doubts. Therefore, we are not to be imposing our beliefs about minor things on others. We are not to use our convictions and thoughts regarding things of non-importance on others, but when it comes to salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ, we don’t give any ground (see Mark 7:3-13).
Vs. 2. For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Moving on to Paul’s purpose, one believes he may eat all things, the word pas translated all things, used without the article means every kind or variety. In pagan Corinth the practice of their religion was largely animal sacrifices in the pagan temples. The animals were not burned or thrown away after the offerings instead they were sold in the marketplace. As a result, those who bought meat in the market were buying that which was sacrificed. For the Jew, there was a distinction made between clean and unclean animals (Leviticus 11) and in chapter 17 they were instructed not to eat blood which means the blood had to be properly drained from the edible meat before it was eaten. As a consequence, the Jews had a kosher system developed that meant a Rabbi had approved the meat for eating. Now a person strong in the faith knows what our Lord said regarding this matter. The dietary laws of the Jews had passed away when our Lord cried out “it is finished” as He hung on the cross dying. There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, these are the things that defile a man (Mark 7:15). Because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods (Mark 7:19). The Lord had eliminated all the dietary restrictions of the Old Testament. But he who is weak eats only vegetables. The one that adheres to the dietary restrictionsis weak, but we are to accept him because the same blood that saved him saved you.
Vs. 3. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. The apostle is stressing the point that our Lord is not concerned about what we eat but is concerned about what comes out of our hearts in the form of all manner of evil speaking. Notice the last clause of our verse; for God has received him which is interpreted to mean both him who eats and him who does not eat. So, God has accepted the strong as well as the weak which provides us with the reason for verse 1. The rest of the verse appears to be addressed to the strong let not him who eats despise him who does not eat and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats. The wrong censorious judgment is rebuked, for if God has accepted a person into the bond of His love and fellowship and if the conduct in question is no bar to God’s acceptance, it is sin for us to condemn that which God has approved. By doing so we have told God we are holier than He is.
Vs. 4Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. Now we look at the judgment on the part of the weak Christian. There is improper language, character, or behavior on the part of the weak as he meddles in the affairs of other Christians. Who are you to judge another’s servant? This is addressing our relationship to the Lordship of Christ for to his own master he stands or falls. Paul is sayingindeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. When we observe these facts we realize that God has created us with our own private character and no one has a right to invade our privacy as long as we are not in some sin of unbelief or give cause for the Lord to be blasphemed because of our error. When it comes to eating or drinking, as long as the Lord has not condemned what we are doing, it is not of any importance. When the weak regards the liberty of the strong with disapproval there is a basis here for the strong to stand with his conduct being examined before the Lord. The sustaining power of Christ does not overlook the fact that conduct which meets with the Lord’s approval does not put to shame the unwavering of the person concerned. However, the same apostle that has given these admonitions wrote that if your liberty becomes a stumbling block to a weak brother, and their conscience is wounded, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble (1 Corinthians 8:13). We have the brain that God gave to us and we should be able to use wisdom in our dealings with other Christians to know if we are being offensive to them and then truly walk in love.
Vs. 5 One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. Here we have introduced another form of what we have been reading about in this chapter. As the dietary laws had been abrogated, so were the observance of the holy days of the Levitical institution terminated too. But we have one person esteems one day above another. Here we have a person, weak in the faith, that does not understand that the old economy was done away with. The stronger individual esteems every day alike, he realizes that under the gospel the ceremonial holy days of the Levitical institution have been abrogated. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. Personal persuasion on the part of each individual, for his own conduct, as he serves the Lord is involved in this. Notice that Paul is not insisting upon the discontinuance of ritual observances of the Levitical ordinances as long as the gospel is not compromised. In Acts 16:3 Paul circumcised Timothy, a Greek, because the Jews knew his father was a Greek and this was expedient. Then in Galatians 5:2 he writes if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. Now the Sabbath is a creation ordnance (Genesis 2:2-3), it was incorporated into the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8-11), and in (Mark 2:28) our Lord says: The Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath. We know that on the first day of the week our Lord rose from the dead; it is recognized in the New Testament as having significance derived from Jesus’ resurrection (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2), and John speaks of it as The Lord’s Day in (Revelations 1:10). It is the one day of the week that has this religious significance. Therefore, the recurring seventh day as the memorial of God’s rest in creation and of Christ’s exaltation in His resurrection should not be regarded as eliminated by our above text.
Vs. 6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. The apostle reveals the weak observes the day and observes it to the Lord and the strong not observing the day to the Lord he does not observe it. The strong person observing every day alike does not regard particular days as having peculiar religious significance while the weak observes the day. This is followed by the strong believer eating to the Lord and giving God thanks andthe weak believer not eating but giving God thanks. This could not be the case if the distinctions of days and the regarding of foods were a matter of divine obligation. Therefore, the weak in the faith that does not yet understand the implications of the transition from the old economy to the new but is a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and is to be accepted in the church. As we found in verse 5, let each be fully convinced in his own mind—it is a matter of private judgment based upon what they have been taught. Now when Paul writes in Galatians 4:10-11 You observe days and months and seasons and years. I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain. He is writing to Galatian Gentiles and condemning them for observing sacred Jewish seasons, which were not intended for them, and had no authority over them. But the Galatians regarded such observances as essential to salvation, and as supplementing faith in the atoning work of Christ. They were a willing prey for the false teachers that had deceived them. Paul also addresses the Colossians 2:16-17 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. The entire Jewish ritual was so organized, as not only to exhibit a faint and distant likeness to Christianity, but it established the certainty that the new dispensation of which it was an early and elementary copy should be at length organized in perfection and symmetry. (Comments for Galatians and Colossians are from John Eadie’s commentaries.) Here we see Gentiles with no background in Judaism being tempted to forsake our Lord Jesus Christ for the old works of the law.
Catechism Question 41
Q: What benefits do believers receive at the resurrection?
A: At the resurrection, believers, being raised up in glory, shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment, and made perfectly blessed both I soul and body in the full enjoyment of God to all eternity.
1 Corinthians 15:43
43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: