Letter to Christians in Rome: Chapter 14 (pt 11 of 19)

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Just to remind you, we are right in the middle of a big section covering Paul’s recommendations and instructions  on how to deal with the various views on things like dietary restrictions (whether it is all right to eat meat at certain times or days, or whether we should be free from that); ritual regulations (such as observance of Sunday or other special days, such as Lent); ceremonies; and especially, personal preferences like drinking wine and beer and alcohol, smoking, movies, cosmetics, or whatever.

To show how important this was, Paul’s comments go from Chapter 14, Verse 1, through Chapter 15, Verse 13. Which show us that they were as much of a problem in the early church as they are in churches today. The section falls naturally into three divisions: what you should not do about these points of contention; what you can do about them; and what happens when you handle them in the right way.

We just discussed what you must not do and saw that the apostle tells us that we must not criticize or condemn each other. There is an area of freedom in our life and faith, which only God has the right to correct. Our task is not judging each other in these areas; and not trying to regulate one another’s conduct by legislation, by majority rule, or by artificial codes of behavior. These methods are wrong because, as Paul brought out, they are taking the place of Christ. He is the only one who has the right to judge. He is the only one who has the right to criticize or condemn in these areas. Which, I assure you, he will do, when needed. So when Christians take this on themselves, they are usurping the place of Christ, which is something we certainly do not want to do and I think Paul makes that argument very clear.

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

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