Letter to Christians in Rome: Chapter 14 (pt 7 of 15)

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Now, as a fourth main point, we come to the reason that governs this kind of conduct. It is set forth in Verses 4-12, and it is the central part of this section. The apostle sets forth three great facts, all supporting and explaining the great principle involved. The first reason why you must not look down on the weak, judge, or condemn the strong is that it is not your responsibility to change your brother in this area. He is not your servant. This is what Paul says in Verse 4:

After all, who are you to criticise the servant of somebody else, especially when that somebody else is God? It is to his own master that he gives, or fails to give, satisfactory service. And don’t doubt that satisfaction, for God is well able to transform men into servants who are satisfactory. (Romans 14:4)

That is very plain, is it not? The reason we are not to judge each other is that we are not responsible for their conduct. The standard is not set in Scripture, which leaves it as an open area that each believer has to decide before their Lord, and we have no responsibility to change each other and no authority to do so.

He is not your servant because the Lord chose him. The Lord is the one responsible to change him. The Lord had never asked you or me when he chose him. Half of you would not be here if I were choosing you! Oh, I do not know about that. I do not know you that well. But I did not choose you, therefore I do not have to change you either. Nor do you have to change me. We are not responsible for each other.

The thing Paul brings out is that the man under consideration is being changed. He is on his way to standing. He will stand, Paul says. Stand, of course, means that he will be straightened out if he is doing wrong. If it is really wrong, God will straighten him out and it is not up to you to do it.

I don’t know about you, that takes a big load off my shoulders. All I have to do is worry about myself, and let you worry about yours. You have certainly heard of WWJD. Well, several years ago they had: PBPGINFWMY! Meaning, “Please be patient, God is not finished with me yet.” How appropriate! All of us are in the process of change. The Lord is at work, and he will continue to work on your life. He is changing us, and if we will just wait a little while, we can see some of the changes.

Now, if the problem is one of not understanding truth, well the solution is teaching the truth more plainly. As people hear it and understand it, they will find freedom. It is ridiculous and futile to try to force people into some kind of compliance with something they do not understand. So, be patient. If they are hearing the truth, they will change. Let the Lord change them; it is his responsibility. Not only will he do so, but he is perfectly able to do so. God is able to do it. I like Phillips’ translation here. He says, “God is well able to transform men into servants who are satisfactory.” That is exactly what Paul is relying on here.

If interested, you can download the entire study of The Letter to Christians at Rome


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