God’s Renewing Word of Hope
Romans 14:1-23: Some of the followers in Rome believed that it was wrong to eat meat, and others were saying that certain foods should only be eaten on certain days. Paul says that there will be differences among God’s people, but that all of the believers need to be accepting of one another and not judge each other.
Do Not Judge Others
1 Welcome those who are weak in faith, but do not argue with them about their personal opinions. 2Some people’s faith allows them to eat anything, but the person who is weak in the faith eats only vegetables. 3The person who will eat anything is not to despise the one who doesn’t; while the one who eats only vegetables is not to pass judgment on the one who will eat anything; for God has accepted that person. 4Who are you to judge the servants of someone else? It is their own Master who will decide whether they succeed or fail. And they will succeed, because the Lord is able to make them succeed.
5Some people think that a certain day is more important than other days, while others think that all days are the same. We each should firmly make up our own minds. 6Those who think highly of a certain day do so in honor of the Lord; those who will eat anything do so in honor of the Lord, because they give thanks to God for the food. Those who refuse to eat certain things do so in honor of the Lord, and they give thanks to God. 7We do not live for ourselves only, and we do not die for ourselves only. 8If we live, it is for the Lord that we live, and if we die, it is for the Lord that we die. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9For Christ died and rose to life in order to be the Lord of the living and of the dead. 10 You then, who eat only vegetables—why do you pass judgment on others? And you who eat anything—why do you despise other believers? All of us will stand before God to be judged by him. 11 For the scripture says,
“As surely as I am the living God, says the Lord,
everyone will kneel before me,
and everyone will confess that I am God.”
12Every one of us, then, will have to give an account to God.
Do Not Make Others Fall
13So then, let us stop judging one another. Instead, you should decide never to do anything that would make others stumble or fall into sin. 14My union with the Lord Jesus makes me certain that no food is of itself ritually unclean; but if you believe that some food is unclean, then it becomes unclean for you. 15If you hurt others because of something you eat, then you are no longer acting from love. Do not let the food that you eat ruin the person for whom Christ died! 16Do not let what you regard as good get a bad name. 17For God’s Kingdom is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of the righteousness, peace, and joy which the Holy Spirit gives. 18And when you serve Christ in this way, you please God and are approved by others.
19So then, we must always aim at those things that bring peace and that help strengthen one another. 20Do not, because of food, destroy what God has done. All foods may be eaten, but it is wrong to eat anything that will cause someone else to fall into sin. 21The right thing to do is to keep from eating meat, drinking wine, or doing anything else that will make other believers fall. 22Keep what you believe about this matter, then, between yourself and God. Happy are those who do not feel guilty when they do something they judge is right! 23But if they have doubts about what they eat, God condemns them when they eat it, because their action is not based on faith. And anything that is not based on faith is sin.
Today’s Key Verse: Romans 14:17
For God’s Kingdom is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of the righteousness, peace, and joy which the Holy Spirit gives.
Paul instructs the believers to respect each other’s customs and to stop disagreements about food that seem to be causing division among them. Within your community of faith, are there times when conflicts occur over various customs and traditions that people hold dear? How are such conflicts resolved?
Lord God, help me not to be quick to judge others and teach me to treat with respect those whose opinions differ from mine. May the righteousness, peace, and joy which the Holy Spirit gives guide my every thought and action this day. Amen.
Romans 15:1-13: The apostle Paul encourages the Lord’s followers to have the same point of view among themselves.