Romans Bible Study Lesson 57

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Judging your Brother

Romans 14:5—9

There are many don’ts listed in the Bible as far as our conduct is concerned. We are not to be involved in immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, greed, anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech (Colossians 3:5, 8). To sum it up, we are to stop sinning (1 Corinthians 15:35) in other words stop pleasing the flesh (Romans 13:14). But there are many gray areas in Scripture, areas that are not well defined and thus giving us an area of leeway. These are the areas that Paul is addressing in Romans 14. Many people expand upon what Scripture says is right and wrong and come up with their own rules about what pleases God. For instance, many feel drinking wine is a sin even though Scripture only says drinking wine to excess is a sin. Some feel that women wearing pants is a sin, again without Scripture explicitly commanding that this be done.

This is why Paul, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, was compelled to give the believer guidelines as to how we should interact with each other in spite of differences of opinion. (14:19)

Verses 5—6

Paul moves from the topic of eating to special days. His argument that those who are weak in their faith (or weak in understanding our freedom in Christ under the Mystery) may restrict certain foods from their diet and may also decide to observe special days. This is in contrast to those who are confident that they are free to eat any food or not make any day special above the others. You are free to restrict certain foods or set aside special days as long as you are doing it for the Lord. Many who do this unfortunately do it for themselves thinking it somehow garners God’s favor or worse may bring them eternal life.

Paul is talking to the person who does these things because they feel it brings glory to God. They are not trying to earn His favor but are doing it unselfishly because they think it pleases the Lord. If these things are done with that intent then they are not to be judged by those who do not eat certain foods or observe special days. Those who eat and those who do not eat are to give thanks to the Lord for the food He supplies. Those who observe special days and those who do not observe special days are to thank God for each day and acknowledge Him as the provider of that day. The prime directive is for believers to live in peace, focus on the Lord and serve Him.

Verses 7—9

We always need to remember who owns us. We who are saved were bought with a price, the shed blood of Jesus Christ. We don’t belong to ourselves, the flesh is no longer our owner, we are now God’s property. Since we are His property we can no longer live for ourselves and we are not qualified nor have the authority to judge those who are servants of Jesus Christ. How can we step in and judge another believer concerning things that are not specifically addressed in Scripture? This is God’s responsibility. How arrogant to think you can take God’s place in judging whether or not a believer is doing right or wrong! We are able to judge a brother in the faith if what he is doing is out in the open and if it goes against Scripture. We are not to judge a brother for a possible sin of the heart (hidden sin) or for something you may consider a sin but Scripture doesn’t clearly say it is.

1 Corinthians 6:19—20 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

With believers in view, it is emphasized that in life and death we belong to the Lord. Isn’t it wonderful assurance to know that we were bought, we are not our own and that it doesn’t matter whether we live or die that we remain the Lord’s.