Journal – November 1, 2020
In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the LORD sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
THE LAW OF LOVE
I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.19 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. 21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. 22 Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. 23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.
Vs. 14. I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. The conviction that abstinence from certain foods and drinks appears that these things were in a natural way evil, and that the use of them was defiling and contrary to the morals which should govern the Christian. The apostle sets forth the biblical principle that nothing is unclean of itself, in his first epistle to Timothy, chapter 4:4 every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving. In our text he writes I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself. The Greek koinois is translated common in the KJV, but unclean in the NKJV, it meant common originally, and came to mean defiled, impure or unclean. So, the strong took the fact that there is nothing unclean of itself as the basis of being able to eat all things and thought the reason why some refused to eat was because they were weak. Such a belief makes God the Creator responsible, involving blasphemy and the attempt to remove human responsibility for wrong. It was necessary for the apostle to state that nothing is unclean of itself; therefore, the religious convictions of the weak (probably a converted Jew that still held to the dietary laws of the Old Testament) were the basis for the problem. If a thing were evil of itself than the strong would be obligated to not use it out of their own religious interests. But to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is. The convictions of each person must be taken into consideration. In 1 Corinthians 8:4, 7 we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one, but it must be taken into fact there is not in everyone that knowledge. It is obvious that what is true objectively (in a way that is not dependent on the mind for existence) may not be true subjectively (in a way dependent on the mind for existence). The conjunction but does not set forth an exception to what had been written in the beginning of verse 14, it simply introduces a consideration that belongs to the situation. There is nothing unclean of itself, this is absolutely true and there is no exception. But it is also true that not all have sufficient faith to know this.
Vs. 15 Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. We have seen that the appeal to the strong is not based upon their own religious convictions but in regard for the religious convictions of the weak. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died; the Greek apollumi translated destroy in our verse means not to extinction but ruin, loss, not of being, but of wellbeing. The weak brother is grieved because of your food, he is weak because he thinks something is unclean that the strong brother is doing. Our verse begins with yet if, harking back to the verse 14 where the reason why the strong believer is to abstain from certain foods, if he fails to do this he is no longer walking in love. It is true that weak believers often experience acute pain of heart when they see that strong brother that they looked up to exercise certain liberties that they think to be wrong. But if the weak is overcome and does that which he saw the strong doing, his conscience is violated he feels guilty because his religious principals are violated this is sin. What is involved is more than a mere displeasure at the conduct of the strong, it is implied that grief falling out on the weak is morally and religiously destructive. It is the vexation of conscience that grips a believer when he does what he considers to be disloyal to the Lord Jesus Christ. Are you a strong believer, you must take this into account; the extent of Christ’s love for the weak believer—He died for him. Christ’s death is the bond of fellowship for all believers. All sin is destructive in nature, and the sin of the weak believer would have been occasioned by lack of love on the part of the strong. Don’t ever take your comfort or soothe your conscience with thoughts of the security of the believer and the final perseverance of the saints. We are to walk through this wilderness loving one another. Paul is not just writing about food but is putting forth principles by which we are to order our lives.
Vs. 16 Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; this verse seeks to prevent the damage that is here spoken of as evil. What is your good that we do not want to be spoken of as evil? It is the Christian liberty which the strong believer enjoys with regard to eating and drinking. William Barkley writes in his commentary on Romans “It is a Christians duty to think of everything, not as it affects our selves only, but as it affects others. This is part of what it means for a believer in Christ to be guided by a Christian mind.”
Vs. 17 For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Now the strong believer is given reasons for not offending the weak believer, for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking. The kingdom of God is that realm that all believers are members of. In 1 Thessalonians 2:12 after exhorting, comforting and charging every one of you as a father does his children Paul writes: that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. Here we are in the royal realm of God’s sovereign power, as King He rules and reigns and His will supreme. The mention of God’s kingdom should always have the effect of summoning believers to that frame of mind that will make them easily persuaded to the supreme demand of their calling—the will of God. In this perspective we see it is not a matter of eating and drinking but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit; Joy in the Holy Spirit is subjective—it is joy in the believer’s heart. But righteousness and peace mean the correct behavior and harmony that should govern the believer’s attitude and behavior within the fellowship of the church. Paul has provided another reason why the believer is not bound to man made or rules that are no longer in effect.
Vs. 18 For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men. The damage that falls out from the inconsiderate conduct on the part of strong believers in the church has given many on the outside occasion to blaspheme God, speak evil of the church, and can destroy the assembly of love. We see we are to be approved by men as individuals, but also as a New Testament
church. It is absolutely necessary that all believers need to serve Christ in these things and be acceptable to God. There is only One that is acceptable to God, that is the Son of God; all the rest of us are sinners by birth and practice, so we need to practice being like our Lord and Savior—to do this we need to know all about Him as far as the Holy Spirit leads.
Vs. 19 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another, the apostle is telling us to pursue—the Greek is dioko seek eagerly or follow after. Therefore, we are to seek eagerly, follow after, pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. We are being readied to dwell with God and there are rough edges in all of us that need to be smoothed off. It takes some longer than others to be made ready, we are all to be like Christ.
Vs. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. The opposite of building one up (v19) or edify is to destroy. The work of God (Ephesians 2:10) should be understood that the weak believer is God’s workmanship also, the strong believer may be guilty of tearing down, or functioning without love, and destroying the weak believer. This verse summarizes what we read in verse 14, to him who him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is. The weak man eats with offense; he sins when he eats because it is not of faith and with a clear conscience.
Vs. 21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. This is directed to the strong believer, but it is the first time Paul includes wine. See 1 Corinthians 11:17-22.
Vs. 22 Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. The apostle is giving another address to the strong, don’t make a spectacle of yourself by protesting your rights and liberty to the injury of the weak. Have it to yourself before God and you will find Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. Remember your faith was a gift from God.
Vs. 23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin. The weak brother is addressed by the apostle, are you doubting because you’re a copycat? What you did was not from faith; therefore, it is sin. Christian, if you are able to apply the principals found in these verses in every area of your life you are blessed.
Catechism Question 43
Q: What shall be done to the wicked at the day of judgment?
A: At the day of judgment the bodies of the wicked being raised out of their graves, shall be sentenced together with their souls to unspeakable torments, with the devil and his angels forever.
2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.