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©Michael Player

Chapter 14:1-12 (ESV)

Posted on January 17, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 14:1-12 (ESV) - As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written,

“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
    and every tongue shall confess to God.”

So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Question to consider: What is a conscience, and why does everyone seem to be affected differently by it?

Loving one another as Christ has loved us and living peaceably with one another is already contrary to our nature. However, in thinking about the Jew and Gentile Christians in the church at Rome, we can see why Paul starts addressing differences in diets and holy days.

Everyone comes to faith from a different background and has a different set of struggles in relation to their faith. God has created us in His image so we each have a sense for the attributes of God— things like: justice (which is measured out in judgment and mercy), love, and long suffering to name a few. Because there is sin in the world, we have been trained up to be sensitive to different things. Some of these things are helpful for us and some of these things are not. We call this sense a conscience. Those who have walked closely with the Lord for many years may have a finely tuned conscience which corresponds to a solid biblical worldview. Others may have come out of a legalistic relationship or came to faith later in life so their conscience can be warped or seared.

In the case of Jews who came to Christ later in life, their conscience was trained up under the Law so it was not an easy adjustment to the new covenant in Christ. A good example is the Sabbath. Under the Law, the last day of the week is the Sabbath. God gave the people of Israel, former slaves to Egypt, a blessed day of rest to worship. Even if their employers wanted them to work on the seventh day, it was against the Law of God to do so.

In the everlasting covenant ushered in by Christ, Christ is our Sabbath rest. We are no longer held to the dictates of the Law. Some have tried to make the Lord’s day the new Sabbath and want to dictate that everyone should take the day to rest. However, Paul doesn’t chastise the one who esteems all days alike.

Paul wrote in today's passage that we should honor our conscience so if someone does think the Lord’s day should also be a day of rest, it is right for them to honor that day as such. Same with foods. Peter struggled with the idea of eating unclean animals, but God told him, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” (Acts 10:15) Paul wrote in today’s passage that we shouldn’t judge the dietary habits of others (despite referring to vegetarians as weak people) or intentionally quarrel with them over these things.

Everyone should act according to their conscience and do what they believe honors the Lord when it comes to things that are not directly forbidden in scripture. 


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for giving us freedom under the new covenant. Help us to not use that freedom to pursue sin or get enslaved to the things of this world but to act according to our conscience and seek to honor You in our actions and attitudes. Amen.