Do Not Judge Each Other
Romans 14:1 states, ďReceive one who is weak
in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things.Ē
Paul warned the saints in Rome not to judge or
criticize each otherís faith. At that time, since there were both those who
were very faithful and those not so faithful in the church in Rome, they came
to criticize each otherís faith. If this happens to you, you must respect each
otherís faith and do away with any critical stances against Godís servants.
It is up to God, not us, to raise and build His servants.
Even within Godís church, many problems arise
among the believers. If we take a look at their faith, we can find all sorts
of faith. Some had been bound to the Law before their redemption, and thus,
they still have the vestige of their old legalistic faith.
Some Christians take great importance in selective
eating. For example, such people may believe that they must not eat pork. Others
may believe that they must keep the Sabbath under any circumstances. But we
must resolve these difference in our faith in the righteousness of God and not
criticize each other over such small matters. This is the gist of what Paul
was talking about.
Paul teaches in chapter 14 that we should not
criticize our fellow believersí weakness if they have faith in the righteousness
of God. Why not? Because although weak, they also believe in Godís righteousness.
The Bible regards those who have been redeemed
of their sins by believing in Godís righteousness as the precious people of
God. While they may seem insufficient in each otherís eyes, God has nevertheless
ordered us not to criticize other believersí faith. This is because although
they may be insufficient in the flesh, they still became the children of God
Everyoneís faith differs from each other
Verses 2-3 state, ďFor one believes he may
eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. 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.Ē
There can be diversity among the servants of God
in believing in His righteousness and following Him. The faith in salvation
is the same, but the amount of faith in His Word may differ.
If someone had been a legalist before being born
again by the faith in the gospel of the righteousness of God, he/she would need
time to abandon his/her own righteousness by wholly believing in Godís righteousness.
These people tend to take great importance in observing the Sabbath, but you
should not criticize them because they, too, believe in Godís righteousness.
God is pleased by the faith of those who know
and believe in His righteousness. He has taken them as His people. Therefore,
those who truly believe in the righteousness of God should make every effort
to nourish their fellow believers with Godís righteousness, instead of criticizing
the weakness of the faith of them.
We must not judge the servants of God
Verse 4 says, ďWho are you to judge anotherís
servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand,
for God is able to make him stand.Ē
We must acknowledge Godís servants, whom God has
approved, and also their faiths. Do you criticize and judge Godís servants while
living your Christian life? Then God will rebuke your faith even more. If you
condemn the faith of those whom God approves just because you do not like them,
you are climbing yourself into the judgment seat of God and judging His servants.
This is not right. Rather, you should gratefully receive even those servants
of God whom you dislike, and obey their guidance while lifting up Godís righteousness.
God must approve our faith. We should have the
true faith that merits Godís commendation and reward. Because God has allowed
us to devote our lives to Jesus Christ, we thank Him for His righteousness.
We must approve those whom God approves, and disapprove of those whom God disapproves.
I hope that you would glorify God by having faith in His righteousness, instead
of lifting up your own righteousness. I hope that God would approve your faith.
You will then be lifted up because of your faith in His righteousness.
If they also believe in Godís RighteousnessÖ
ďOne person esteems one day above another;
another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.
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 thanksĒ (Romans 14:5-6).
Among the Jews were those who were saved by believing
in Christ, our Lord of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Many of them,
though they believed in Jesus, were still bound by the Law. But they were already
the servants of Godís righteousness because whatever they did to keep the Law,
they did to spread Godís righteousness.
That is why Paul said, ďTo those who are under
the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to
those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God,
but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without lawĒ (1
We must neither ignore nor reject the faith of
those who believe in the righteousness of God. If they believe in Godís righteousness
and serve Him, we must acknowledge them as the servants of God.
The righteous shall live for the Lord
Verses 7-9 state, ďFor none of us lives to
himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and
if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the
Lord's. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might
be Lord of both the dead and the living.Ē
We live with Christ and die with Him because we
have been saved from all our sins and received new lives by believing in the
righteousness of God revealed in the gospel. All the old things have passed
away in Christ, and we became new creatures. To truly believe in Godís righteousness
means to know and believe in the truth that you are Christís. Thus, those who
believe in the righteousness of God have no more to do with this world and have
become the servants of God instead.
If you become Godís servant, you will lift Him
up high, love Him, live for His glory, and be thankful to Him for allowing you
to live your life in this way.
Do you truly belong to Christ? Those who believe
in the gospel of the water and the Spirit have been crucified with Christ and
were brought back to life again with Him. Whether we live or die, we belong
to Christ by Godís righteousness. The Lord has become the Lord of the saved.
We should not judge our fellow believers
It is written in verses 10-12, ďBut why do
you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we
shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: ďAs I
live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess
to God.Ē So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.Ē
Because Christ our God lives, we will one day
kneel before Him and confess everything. We must therefore not seat on the judgment
seat and judge our brothers and sisters, but stand before God with modesty.
It is much more important to live for Godís will than to judge and condemn one
another in His church. If we judge and condemn our brothers and sistersí weaknesses,
we will be judged for our own weaknesses before God. This is why we must realize
how good it is to live for Godís will, together in His church.
True faith edifies the fellow believers and pursues
the righteousness of God. Remember that a false faith will abandon Godís righteousness
and only build its own righteousness. What about you? Are you pursuing Godís
righteousness with faith? Or are you pursuing the righteousness of your own
We must edify the othersí faith
Verses 13-14, ďTherefore let us not judge one
another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a
cause to fall in our brotherís way. 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.Ē
Because there are differences in the amount of
faith among those who believe in the righteousness of God, we should work to
build each otherís faith by edifying one another. This brings growth to the
believers of Godís righteousness. If we truly live for God and His righteousness,
we are all His people.
If you are a Christian who believes in the righteousness
of God, you can do anything with your faith in the Word of God. If you cannot,
it is because you are pursuing your own righteousness instead of Godís righteousness.
Pursuing your own righteousness in the righteousness of God is like pursuing
the world and having a wrong faith.
Those who seek their own righteousness, although
saved by believing in Godís righteousness, are living as Godís foes. God wants
those who are saved by believing in His righteousness to keep on following His
righteousness throughout their lives.
Walk in love
Verses 15-18 says, ďYet 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. Therefore do not let your good
be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but
righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ
in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.Ē
Those who have been saved by believing in Godís
righteousness and are living to spread it do not despise His people for the
sake of food. We sometimes bring food to share and have fellowship in love.
But Paul is warning us against excluding the poor brothers and sisters and sharing
only among the wealthy, because that could make our fellow Christians to stumble.
The blessings that God has bestowed on those who
believe in His righteousness are allowing us to follow Godís righteousness,
our peace of mind given by the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and being
able to serve the Lord together, sharing in each otherís joy that He has given.
Those who are wealthy should therefore realize that all their riches are from
God, and share them with others to serve the gospel and follow Godís righteousness
together. God is pleased with and loves those who live such lives.
Seek to edify others
Verses 19-21 says, ďTherefore let us pursue
the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.
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. 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.Ē
Long ago, in such ancient cities as Rome and Corinth,
people sold food that were once offered as sacrifices to idols. Some of the
believers in Godís righteousness used to buy such meat and eat them. Then, some
of the fellow believers who were of weak faith in Godís church thought that
eating such meat was sinful. This is why Paul said, ďDo not destroy the work
of God for the sake of foodĒ (verse 20).
The same applied to wine. There were some believers
who did not worry much about drinking. But Paul admonished that if such behaviors
were to weaken the faith of their fellow believers, it would be good for them
to stop offending their fellow believers with their drinking. This also happens
among us. Therefore, we must live our Christian lives in a way that edifies
others, and seek Godís righteousness. Issues can rise today concerning the food
used as offerings to ancestors, and it is better not to eat that kind of food
for the sake of those who are weak in faith.
Have faith in Godís Righteousness
Verse 22-23 states, ďDo you have faith? Have
it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what
he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not
eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.Ē
Those who believe in the righteousness of God
are the ones who have the correct faith. Faith in Godís righteousness is the
God-given faith that cleanses away all our sins. Christians therefore must believe
in Godís righteousness and have the conviction of their faith in His righteousness.
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The Scripture tells us that following
God without believing in His righteousness is a sin. Anything done
without faith is a sin. Knowing that anything done without faith
in Godís righteousness is a sin, we must have more faith in His
The Bible says, ďHe who doubts is condemned
if he eats.Ē Everything is clean if you eat with faith in Godís righteousness,
because God created every plant and animal.
We must understand just how important it is for
us to know and believe in Godís righteousness. We must also edify our fellow
born-again believers and respect their faith.