February 26, 2021 – Friday
Romans 14:22-23 NIV
22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves.
23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.
Yesterday’s verse of the day (verses 1-4 same chapter) was a lead in for today’s verses which explicitly states, whatever you believe about these things in verse 22. To know what these things are we only have to go to a few preceding verses, 19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.
If you are wondering why so much emphasis on food it has to do with the greatly differing food differences between Jews and Gentiles and what was permissible to eat and not to eat per Jewish law. Paul did not want Jewish Christians condemning Gentile Christians for the food that they ate. Nor did Paul want Gentile Christians condemning Jewish Christians for the food that they ate or did not eat. Looking more fully at verse 22 above we have, So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. Paul is explicitly stating keep your beliefs about food to yourself. Further do not run the risk condemning yourself by making an issue out of what you approve or disapprove concerning the food that others eat or do not eat.
Whatever your beliefs are concerning this make sure they are based upon your faith as in verse 23, whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin. If your faith tells you it is okay, then it is okay. But if your faith tells you it is not okay and you act as if it is okay, then what you are choosing to do is a sin.
I would suggest to you this does not simply apply to food, but to many things in life – especially in the church. There are churches that will condemn you if you don’t dress up – shirt, tie, and a dress coat for men and long dresses for women. Then there are churches that will condemn you if you do dress up for church. What nonsense. God is interested in your heart condition and why you choose to dress up or not dress up; not on whether you actually dress up or not. I know of one church that refused help in cleaning from a Christian woman because she wore jeans to the clean up effort.
The same goes for the type of church service you have. I do not believe God cares if you have lots of music and musical instruments or flashing lights or whatever. What I do think He cares about is if the church is using His Word to lead people to knowledge and faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Have a fancy church or a plain church and it is all the same to Him, but make sure the church pastor, minister, or preacher is proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ and how we all need the Grace (unmerited favor) of God if we are to go to heaven. Nonetheless, there are plenty of churches that spend half their time in services attacking other churches or church leaders. Except for warning others away from false teachers, leave the rest up to God. He will take care of that Himself for as Jesus said in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and cast out demons in Your name, and do many mighty works in Your name?’ and then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Note I have given many of my opinions above and while they are heartfelt, they are still only my opinions. Yet Jesus’ words above inform me and lead me always to His Word and nothing else. As one preacher has stated, Jesus plus nothing equals everything and that’s good enough for me.
Prayer: Heavenly Father – Help me to continually focus on Your Word. Let Your Word inform my opinions and not me using Your Word to justify my opinions. – In Jesus name. Amen.