Romans 14:10-15

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

Text: Romans 14:10-15

STRONG AND WEAK BROTHERS

INTRODUCTION:

What are you to do when you have two believers both of whom really love the Lord and one of them does something in order to the please the Lord and the other one refuses to do the same thing in order to please the Lord. Well, you check out what the Scripture has to say about the matter, and in checking you find out that the Bible is silent on the matter. It really does not say anything about the subject. What do you do then?

In Romans 14 Paul deals with this matter. He shows believers the appropriate course of action they should take when they have differing views on matters concerning which the Scriptures are silent.

Paul is illustrating the principle mentioned in Romans 13:8 , that believers are to love one another. How does love for each other work itself out in practice when sincere believers have differing views on matters concerning which the Scriptures are silent?

Love says that nothing whatsoever should be done which in any way might cause another to stumble.

Selfishness, however, insists on its own way without regard to the needs of others. What we will see is that believers must take steps to limit their liberties if necessary.

Let's look at the text and see what Paul has to say.

Romans 14:1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.

Romans 14:2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.

Romans 14:3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.

Romans 14:4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

Romans 14:5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

Romans 14:6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

Romans 14:7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.

Romans 14:8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.

Romans 14:9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

We continue with -

Romans 14:10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

In order to understand verse 10, we need to take another look at Romans 14:3 -

Romans 14:3 - Let not him that eateth despise (i.e. set at nought, treat with contempt) him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.

In the phrase but why dost thou judge thy brother, thou is emphasized. Therefore, the flavor of the phrase can be understood in English as, You, why are you judging your brother?

Thou is you (singular).

Dost thou judge? is are you passing an unfavorable judgment upon?, are you criticizing?, are you finding fault with?, or are you condemning?

Thy brother means your fellow believer. The mood of the verb indicates that this was actually happening.

This phrase, why dost thou judge thy brother, is written to the one that is weaker in the faith; and he is judging his brother for doing things he does not think should be done.

In the phrase or why dost thou set at nought thy brother, thou (i.e. you singular) is emphasized. Therefore, the flavor of it is, You, why are you setting at nought your brother?

Set at nought is the same word translated despise in verse 3. This is written to the one who believes he is the stronger one; and he is despising, disdaining, rejecting, or treating with contempt his fellow believer because his fellow believer will not do some of the things which he thinks are all right to be done.

Thus, both the strong and the weak believers are wrong for the way they are handling the situation. The reason it is wrong for the one to criticize the other and for the second to despise or treat with contempt the first is that we are all ultimately responsible to Christ. Thus, both the strong believer and the weak believer are attempting to do Christ's job for Him.

For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ indicates that every one of us will ultimately and individually give an account of our lives to the Lord. This refers to the Bema Seat Judgment of Christ which derives its name from the Greek word translated judgment seat.

Shall stand before is will approach or will come to and is predictive of something which is definitely going to happen in the future.

What we shall stand before is the judgment seat of Christ, i.e. the tribunal of Christ, especially the judicial bench of Christ. It pictures Christ as the judge, and in this case it is the judgment of believers. This is the judgment which occurs after the rapture, during the time of the tribulation. It judges only those believers from the church age.

It is also described for us in I Corinthians 3:12-15 where it is revealed that it will be the believers' works which are judged and that the believer will either receive rewards or will lose rewards he might have received. His salvation is not in question.

I Corinthians 3:12-15 - (12) Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

(13) Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.

(14) If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

(15) If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

The same judgment is described in II Corinthians 5:10 ,

II Corinthians 5:10 - (10) For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad (i.e. worthless).

Judgment seat in II Corinthians 5:10 is the same Greek word translated judgment seat in Romans 14:10 .

Romans 14:11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

In verse 11 Paul appeals to Scripture to support his statement that we shall all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.

For it is written is literally for it has been written and indicates something which was written in the past and remains there for all to read. It indicates an existing state. It is written in Isaiah 45:23 .

Isaiah 45:23 - (23) I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.

Paul also refers this same concept in Philippians 2:10-11 , but there he applies it in a different way from the way in which he applies it here.

Philippians 2:10-11 - (10) That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

(11) And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

What is written is as I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

Bow is bend; and inasmuch as a knee is a part of the human anatomy, when the knee bends or bows, the individual is bowing. He will bow to Christ.

Furthermore, when an individual speaks, he uses his tongue to speak; and he will confess to God.

Confess is variously used to mean admit, acknowledge, or even praise. It might depend upon the individual as to what he is actually doing. Obviously, believers will be praising God. Unbelievers will be admitting to God that God was right after all even though they chose not to repent. It is predictive of a future event, and its mood indicates that this is something that will definitely happen.

Romans 14:12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

In verse 12 Paul draws the conclusion based upon verses 10-11: so then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

So then suggests consequently then or as a result then.

Every one of us is each one of us and indicates that the account that will be given will be an individual account. We are not accountable for others; we are accountable for our own selves individually.

Shall give account is will give (a) reckoning or will reckon account.

Of himself is concerning himself or about himself, and the One to Whom we each will give this account is God. Basically, believers are not accountable for each other; they are individually accountable for themselves. At the same time, a pastor is accountable for his congregation, and a father is accountable for his wife and his children.

Inasmuch as believers are going to be appearing before the judgment seat of Christ according to II Corinthians 5:10 , and inasmuch as they are going to be giving an account to God the Father according to Romans 14:12 , it suggests that God the Father and Christ are both in some way involved in this judgment.

Furthermore, John 5:22 and 27 indicate that God the Father has committed all judgment to the Son.

John 5:22 - For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.

John 5:27 - And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.

The fact that every believer will give account of himself to God indicates that believers are ultimately answerable to God for their actions and their activities. Therefore, they should not be judging each other. Believers, instead, should be determining to live as much as possible for the Lord and not worry so much about what others are doing.

Romans 14:13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.

In verse 13 Paul draws a conclusion of the matter regarding how a believer ought to act when there are definite and honest differences of opinion. How can believers get along with each other when they view things differently?

Therefore draws an inference and is understood in the sense of so, consequently, accordingly, or then.

Not . . . any more is no longer or not from now on and indicates that something was already going on and needed to be stopped.

One another is each other. These believers were already finding fault with one another and needed to stop. It would serve no useful purpose in the church at Rome or in any other church.

But indicates a strong contrast.

Judge is the same word used in the first half of the verse, but it is used with a different meaning. It is used to bring out a play upon words. This time it is used in the sense of reach a decision, decide, propose, intend, or determine.

Judge this is decide this or determine this.

Rather is instead and suggests instead of doing something that will result in a Christian brother's committing sin, do this: decide not to do it. This practice is love in action. Selfishness says, I'm going to do it. It's all right. It doesn't matter what anybody else thinks about it. Love says, I wouldn't do it if it would cause a problem in any way to anybody, even though I know in my own mind that it is all right. Even though I have confidence that it is acceptable, I will avoid it because I would not want to be a problem to anyone.

The content of this is that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.

No man is no one or nobody.

Put is place, and stumbling block is an opportunity to take offense or to make a misstep. Here it is used figuratively in the sense of giving a Christian brother an occasion to take offense or putting an obstacle in someone's way. The same term is used in Romans 9:33 where it is translated stone of stumbling. The brother here is a Christian brother.

An occasion to fall is translated a rock of offence in Romans 9:33 . It is a temptation or an enticement to commit sin.

Romans 14:14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

In verse 14 Paul indicates that he believes that he is a stronger believer, but he also indicates that, when a weaker brother believes that there is something wrong with something, it is definitely wrong to him.

Rather than argue, therefore, Paul is suggesting that the stronger believers recognize the situation for what it is and avoid it out of love for the weaker believer.

I know is used in the sense of I see or I perceive.

Paul also says and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus Christ which means that he is convinced or certain of something. Its perfect tense indicates that this is a settled position which he has taken. He has come to this conclusion in the past, and he still holds it.

By the Lord Jesus suggests that the Lord has persuaded him of this. It can also mean in the Lord Jesus which suggests as a Christian.

What he knows and what he is persuaded is the rest of the verse: that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

Unclean means common, profane, ordinary, or impure.

Of itself is by means of itself or through itself.

But is except.

The exception is to him that esteemeth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

Esteemeth is thinks, is of the opinion that, believes, or considers.

(It is) unclean is the same word used in the previous phrase meaning common, profane, ordinary, or impure.

To him is to that one. The problem is that, if it is unclean in this person's mind and if he involves himself in it, he is guilty of sin because he has violated his conscience. He not only thinks he is guilty of sin; he actually is guilty of sin because of that violation of his conscience.

Romans 14:15 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.

But indicates a continuation of Paul's line of reasoning and should probably be understood in the sense of now rather than as introducing a contrast.

If thy brother be grieved with thy meat is a simple condition which is assumed, for sake of discussion, to be true. It is assumed that he is grieved with your meat. However, it may or may not be true in a particular case. If should, therefore, be understood in the sense of assuming that.

Thy brother is your fellow believer.

Be grieved means is sad or is distressed and comes from a word which literally means is pained.

With thy meat is because of your (singular) meat.

Meat is not just what we in the 21st century might consider as meat; rather, it is used in the sense of food, especially solid food.

Now walkest not thou charitably indicates that the believer is no longer living with an attitude of love for his fellow believer.

Now is no longer, no more, or no further.

Walkest not thou is you are not conducting your life or you are not living. Consequently, if the stronger believer is doing something which grieves his weaker brother in Christ, he needs to stop doing it because at that point in time he is not living in a loving manner toward that weaker believer and is, in fact, guilty of sin himself because of his lack of love.

Charitably is in accordance with love, i.e. with the sort of love that God demonstrated when He sent Christ to die upon the cross in order to pay for our sins. It is the sort of love that gives itself one hundred percent on behalf of another without expecting anything in return.

Destroy not him with thy meat for whom Christ died is a command which serves as the action that the loving believer ought to have.

Destroy not him means stop ruining him. It was already happeningThey were to stop destroying or stop ruining their brother with their meat

With thy meat is with your food.

For whom Christ died reminds us that this one is a saved person, just as much as the stronger believer is a saved person.

CONCLUSION:

Let's remember that whatever we do, we are to do it out of love for the Lord and for each other. This will help the weaker believers not be critical of the stronger ones, and it will help the stronger ones not treat the weaker ones with contempt.