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©John Yerkes

Chapter 14:13-23 (ESV)

Posted on January 18, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 14:13-23 (ESV) - Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

Question to consider: Give an example of something we may do which could be a stumbling block to a brother or sister in Christ?

One of the ways we can love our brothers and sisters in Christ is to do what we can to keep them from stumbling in their faith. In yesterday’s passage, Paul recognized that people come from a variety of backgrounds and therefore have a conscience which has tuned their sense of right and wrong in different ways. Those who had grown up under the Law were used to living according to dietary restrictions, fasts, and sabbath days.

While these things separated Israel from the world and served as a type and shadow pointing to Christ, now that Christ had come, these shadows were no longer necessary. The Gentiles who had come to faith were used to eating animals considered unclean under the Law like pork or shellfish, and they didn’t engage in fasts or sabbaths so it caused conflicts.

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul dealt with Jewish Christians who insisted that the Gentiles needed to be circumcised under the Law, and Paul warned that to take on the sign of the Old Covenant meant that they were abandoning the righteousness given by faith in Christ and obligating themselves to the dictates of the Law. Although quarreling over sabbaths and dietary laws wasn’t on the same level as seeking a false gospel, it definitely could create sects and divisions in the church.

Thus, Paul writes that it wasn’t worth destroying the work of God for the sake of food. When it comes to our freedom in Christ, we should neither judge someone for having a different conscience about eating or drinking and sabbaths nor try to tempt a brother or sister to go against their conscience and stumble in their faith. For example, having a glass of wine with dinner is not a sin, but if you invite someone over to your house who has a conscience about drinking, you should abstain for his sake and not try to tempt him to go against his conscience.

At the same time, if someone who has a conscience about drinking sees a brother or sister in Christ having a glass of wine at a restaurant, it is not loving to cause him grief over it.


Dear heavenly Father, please build us up in our faith and knowledge of Christ so that we develop a proper sense of right and wrong according to Your word. When it comes to the faith of others, please help us to treat them with kindness and patience and not act in a way that can cause them to violate their conscience. Amen.