Christian liberty is an important subject in the New Testament. The basic principle is this: the Christian has been set completely free from every kind of bondage in order to do the will of God. The believer has been set free from the tyranny of indwelling sin (Rom. 6:7). Those who were once idol-worshiping Pagans have been set free from their bondage to Satan (Gal. 4:8). Those who were once Jews under law are no longer in bondage to law but are under grace (Romans 6:14). As those who are under grace, we have been liberated from the requirements of the Law, and every other "yoke of bondage" (Gal. 5:1). Having been set free in grace, there is liberty for the indwelling Spirit to act in our lives; "the perfect law of liberty" (James 1:25). When we are enjoying the liberty we have been brought into, our communion with God and our service for Him will be completely unhindered! In the whole wide world, the only people who are truly free, are the genuine disciples of Christ; "If ye abide in my word, ye are truly my disciples; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free" (John 8:31-32).read more…
- In Romans the awareness is with regard to extra-biblical convictions imported from Judaism.
- In 1 Corinthians the awareness is with regard to superstition imported from Paganism.
- Carefulness not to Offend Weak Brethren (14:1-5)
- Remember: We Stand Individually Responsible to Christ the Lord (14:6-12)
- Remember: It is Possible to Stumble and Harm our Brother (14:13-23)
- Remember: The Spirit of Meekness Patterned for us by Christ (15:1-7)
- Remember: God has Purposed Jews and Gentiles to Be Blessed Together (15:8-13)
Carefulness not to Offend Weak Brethren (14:1-5)
- Questions as to meats (v.2)
- Questions as to days (v.5)
- Questions as to circumcision (Acts 15)
- Questions as to “things offered to idols” (1 Cor. 8 & 10)
- The Gentile convert has a more scriptural view, and might be inclined to regard the other’s conviction as obstinate stupidity. He is exhorted not to belittle the weaker brother, and not to force his conviction against the other’s conscience.
- The Jewish convert is not to condemn the other for his liberty. The word “judge” [‘krino’] here means to ‘pass-sentence’ or ‘condemn’. Our brother, even if he doesn’t share our convictions, has been “received by God“, because all believers have their standing “in Christ”.
Remember: We Stand Individually Responsible to Christ the Lord (14:6-12)
- The weak brother is warned against judging (condemning) the stronger (liberated) brother for his actions, wrongly counting the other’s liberty as license, and be tempted to go against their own conscience in other areas.
- The strong brother is warned against belittling the weaker brother because he can see that the other’s convictions are unscriptural and unnecessary.
In John 5, the Lord Jesus explained that God the Father has chosen to give up His right to judge men, so that the Son of man will have that place exclusively. Judgment as a whole, and in all its forms, is committed to the Son; "that man whom he hath ordained" (Acts 17:31). The reason for the Son's being invested solely with this authority is given in John 5:27; because He is the Son of man. Read more... As the judge of all men, the Lord Jesus Christ will hold a solemn tribunal, or judgment seat. The Greek word is 'bema' (Rom. 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10), which means ‘raised platform’, or ‘dais’. The same word is used in Matt. 27:19 and John 19:13 for the raised platform that Jesus stood on accused before the Jews, called Pavement, or in Hebrew, Gabbatha. It is the same word for the platform Herod sat on in Acts 12:21 on that fateful day when he refused to give God the glory. Every bema-seat of worldly monarchs has been corrupt. One day, Christ will have His true bema-seat, and He will judge righteous judgment (Isa. 32:1). Who will stand before that judgment seat? All men, believers and unbelievers, will appear before the judgment seat, and their lives will be reviewed.Read more…
Remember: It is Possible to Stumble and Harm our Brother (14:13-23)
- Their conscience could be weakened by seeing another believer living at odds with it.
- Their conscience could be wounded because they think we are walking in sin carelessly. It could discourage them.
- Righteousness or, consistency of character. It is the first principle given, because God would not have Christians sacrifice doing right in order to make peace; i.e. we must maintain a good conscience before God.
- Peace. Having a good conscience, we are then to make sure that our conduct, whether eating or not eating, has the tendency to make peace, and not strife.
- Joy. Finally, we are to be occupied with Christ which will produce joy in our hearts. This is the normal and happy occupation of the believer; but we can’t really walk in communion if we are using our liberty for license (not righteousness) or flaunting our liberty before a week brother (not peace).
- Peace among God’s people. This is more the negative side. Are my actions serving to draw us closer together, or drive us farther apart by harping on the differences in our personal convictions?
- Edification of God’s people. This is more the positive side. Am I actively seeking to build others up in the Christian faith? Our time and energy would be better invested by ministering Christ to our weaker brother. God will see to it that those extra-biblical “leaves” fall off with spiritual growth.
- vv.20-22a to those who are strong,
- vv.22b-23 to those who are weak.
Remember: The Spirit of Meekness Patterned for us by Christ (15:1-7)
Remember: God has Purposed Jews and Gentiles to Be Blessed Together (15:8-13)
- Truth. To fulfill the promises made to the patriarchs of Israel, with whom He was in a covenant relationship.
- Grace. To bless the nations with whom He had no covenant relationship, to whom He had no obligation, whose only claim to God was on the ground of sovereign mercy.
- Psa. 18:49 – Messiah is leading the Nations in Millennial worship.
- Deut. 32:43 – Jehovah is calling on the Nations to rejoice with Israel.
- Psa. 117:1 – Restored Israel is calling on the Nations to praise Jehovah.
- Isa. 11:10 – The prophecy states that the Nations will put their trust in the Messiah, and attach their hope to Him.
- For the converse of this principle [forbearing with the weak, Rom. 14], when these observances are used to destroy liberty in Christ, see Galatians 4, where the apostle shows that, if the observance is taught as a principle, it is really turning back to Paganism. - Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible. Romans 14.