The Christian Conscience – Romans 14

Apr 11, 2021 // By:Dave // No Comment

Romans chapter 14 

1 Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. 

What is this phrase “ weak in faith”?

Someone who adheres to convictions that are not supported in scripture 

or who focuses on minor issues not pertaining to faith as if they did 

Weak actually means weak, spiritually

Imagine someone at the gym who goes around telling others how they should be dressed to workout but can’t lift any actual weights 

One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. 

The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. 

Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

this whole eating vs not eating is something Paul wrote about concerning meat sacrificed to idols …

(the best cuts of meat were the ones sacrificed so it was good business for the meat seller to advertise that it was meat sacrificed to an idol because it was “a good cut of meat”  the best.

 1 Cor 10:

27 If one of the unbelievers invites you and you want to go, eat anything that is set before you without asking questions, for the sake of conscience.

28 But if anyone says to you, “This is meat sacrificed to idols,” do not eat it, for the sake of that one who informed you and for the sake of conscience;

29 Now by “conscience” I do not mean your own, but the other person’s; for why is my freedom judged by another’s conscience?

let’s look back at 1 Cor 8: 1-13

we can see that it is the others person’s conscience regarding this matter

“don’t use your freedom in Christ to cause others to stumble in their faith”

what are some of the common “taboo” issues now a days that christians get all riled up about ?

 religious holidays (pagan origin or not)

religious observances such as lent



views on movies, sex, etc

why do we think our areas of clear conscience are areas we can establish as common laws of God ?

One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. 

this is referring likely to the observance of the sabbath and which day it should be celebrated on

jewish sabbath is saturday, christians began to celebrate on sunday as the Lords day (his resurrection)

the christians eventually starting calling sunday the sabbath

and disputed arose over which day was the holy day (holiday)

He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. 

For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; 

for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 

For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 

11 For it is written,

“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me,

And every tongue shall give praise to God.”

12 So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.

we can discuss things, of course, but personal convictions are just that …

personal …

and it is personally that we shall each stand before the Lord to account for our personal thoughts and actions

13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way. 

here is is again, don’t cause others to stumble.

14 I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 

let us look in Acts where God teaches this lesson to Peter who was still thinking the gospel of salvation through Christ was only meant for the Jews

Acts 10:11 …

God says “all things are now clean”

(you are now longing having to worry about the law and ceremonial cleanliness because Christ has made all things clean by satisfying the law)

the old covenant of the law is gone, the new covenant is of faith in Christ)

Jer 31:31

why does he have to make a new one ?

Rom 3:20 no one will ever be declared righteous through the law

“The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins.

“But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. . . . Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

“The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: ‘This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.’ Then he adds: ‘Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.’ And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary” (Hebrews 10:1–4, 11–18).

“For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant” (Hebrews 9:11–15).

Rom 11 tells us that the covenant can be see as a Jewish tree with a gentile branch grafted onto it

the new convenant is one of faith in Christ satisfying the law, rather than our satisfying the law with our own works  (see Eph 2:8-9)

So all things are clean according to God

but people may have personal ideas of what God says is ok or not (things outside of scripture or doctrines derived from scripture)

these “gray” areas are places where one person’s freedom can cause another to stumble

Paul says “we are not supposed to be taking our personal convictions about other’s expression of freedom and making new laws to justify passing judgement on them.

15 For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died. 

if you cause your brother to stumble because you insist on exercising your freedom, you are being selfish, unloving.

does this mean I can never enjoy my freedom in Christ ?

let’s look at what Paul writes next:

16 Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; 

17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 

18 For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 

19 So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. 

verse 18-19 tell us we are to be focused on serving one another, building one another up

Why am I given freedom in Christ, if I can’t do what I want ?

our freedom is to love one another, not to destroy each other over gray areas

20 Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense. 

21 It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles. 

22 The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. 

23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.

all things are clean before God, but if we cause another to stumble in their use, we are not being loving, we are being sinful in our freedom.

if my freedom causes another to follow my example while they are still doubting if is is sin or not, I am contributing to their willingly going against their faith or conscience 

why is their conscience so important ?

it is one of the first things that testifies against the guilt of the non-jew, against the gentile, against those who have never heard of God, 

it is their internal sense of right and wrong by which God judges their guilt

(Rom 2:15)

That is why we are not to use our freedom to cause another to violate their own conscience, their internal compass that God uses for every human being as he slowly grows their knowledge of first right and wrong, then the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ.

How can someone’s faith be caused to stumble ?

what do each of us do with this passage ?

All things are permitted for me, but not all things are of benefit. All things are permitted for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. 1 Cor 6:12

the focus of this passage is doing what is right and not doing what is wrong.

but Paul never gives us the answer we instinctively want “who is right or wrong in regard to these gray areas”

He is focusing on the scriptural idea of right and wrong in regard to loving one another

and understanding that people are doing their best to honor God with their personal mix of scriptural knowledge and personal conviction. (we are all at different levels of weakness)

while it is ok to talk about the differences, it is not ok to force, coerce, or intellectually bully others to do things they think are wrong just because another understands their “freedom” in Christ

(and is misusing that freedom, cause another to sin by getting them to do something against the conscience)

Paul is telling us that doing the right thing spiritually is more important than being right in a gray area.

conversation, not crushing.

Most of us are well convinced that God is working in our hearts and changing us, growing us

(but we act like he doesn’t do this for anyone else, and that we have to step in for God and straighten them out)

That is why Paul says each will stand before the Lord (account for all that we did according to our own beliefs and convictions)

for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 

For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 

Christ is that person’s Lord, not me or you.  They do not stand before me or you, they stand before the Lord

This entire passage is a reminder of Lordship (not so much to remind us who is our Lord)

but who is their Lord and to be respectful of who is their Lord (let Him do His work and stop acting like their Lord)

Dialog over these gray areas as equals serving the same Lord 

loving one another as equal servants of the same Lord

(and stop playing Lord over each other because we think we “know better”)

Gal. 6:1 ¶ Brothers and sisters, even if a person is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual are to restore such a person in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you are not tempted as well.

yes, we are instructed to help one another, especially when we perceive another is stumbling, but notice the context, “in a spirit of gentleness”


4559   [4240]   πραύτης, prautēs, n.  [4558]. gentleness, meekness, humility

God is real big on humility for those who are not perfect (that is all of us)

James 4:6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.”

James 4:7 Submit therefore to God. But resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:8 Come close to God and He will come close to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

James 4:9 Be miserable, and mourn, and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy into gloom.

James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.

James 4:11 ¶ Do not speak against one another, brothers and sisters. The one who speaks against a brother or sister, or judges his brother or sister, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it.

James 4:12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you, judging your neighbor?

being humble is, in fact, resisting the devil.

is it possible, that in condemning one another over these trivial issues and dividing over them,

focusing on who is right and wrong instead of who is being loving or unloving

that we are walking into the enemies methods and doing his work for him ?

Paul never actually gives the answer to the gray area that our flesh wants

because it is practically irrelevant to the real issue, loving one another

(by which the world will know we belong to Him – John 13:35)

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