Attitudes In Positive Form,
Part 10 (July 10, 2022)
Do Not Quarrel Over Opinions
[Read the 14th chapter of Romans]
In our treatment of each other, we must never fail to distinguish between matters of faith and matters of opinion. In the time when Paul wrote to the Romans, there were Christians who – due to their cultural/religious background – had different diets that they may not have changed when they became Christians. That’s OK.
When you become a Christian you certainly have to change, from sin to righteousness; from false religion to true religion; from bad attitudes to good attitudes; from sinful relationships to right relationships; from disobedience to obedience; from worldliness to godliness. That’s all very clear in reading and studying the New Testament.
But if you were a vegetarian before you baptism, you don’t have to start eating meat. Likewise, if you enjoyed your pulled pork before you obeyed the gospel, there is not divine requirement to cease pork (see Acts 10:15 and Rom. 14:14).
Most important, I cannot demand that others eat what I eat, or stop eating what they eat, as regards things lawful to consume. There are two things to keep in mind as you read Romans 14. ONE, we do not pass negative judgments against people because they are not like us, in matters not of faith. “Why do you pass judgment on your brothers? Or why do you despise your brother?” (Verse 10).
TWO, we must guard our attitudes about people who differ with us in regard to these matters of opinion, lest we “destroy the work of God,” (verse 20). If in any attitude or conduct, we hinder or neglect the work of God, repentance is needed.
The teaching of this chapter, when embraced by members of a local church, has great value and promise in working together. Business meetings have erupted into wrangles over what color the carpet should be, or whether to have a tree out front or a flower bed. These wrangles need an umpire who blows the whistle, calls foul and prays for forbearance and consensus. If the New Testament doesn’t specific such things, they cannot become matters of controversy.
What translation of the English bible should one use? While there are legitimate points of comparison to bring up and observations about translation method, accuracy, etc. Nobody can dictate or mandate a translation. “Why do you pass judgment on your brother?”
“So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding,” (Rom. 14:19).
Some issues should never affect fellowship. Matters of moral or spiritual indifference (to God) are not to affect fellowship in the local church. We are directed to accept a brother who may have
scruples, though not to pass judgment on his opinions (Romans 14:1ff.). In these matters, we are not to judge our brother (14:10, 13) or risk destroying the “work of God for the sake of food” (14:20). Each person in the group is to live by faith in all things, for “whatever is not from faith is sin” (14:23).
Our job is to stay in fellowship with God and everything else, including fellowship with those of “like precious faith” (2 Peter 1:1), will take care of itself. We will have unity and peace and accomplish the work God has given us to do. As John says in his oft-quoted passage: “If we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).