A Stumblingblock

Romans 14:13-20 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteems any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walk thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. Let not then your good be evil spoken of: For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serve Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eats with offence. 

‘Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died’ this proves that a brother can be destroyed by another Christian. If not, this is all very needless language.

‘For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.’ The kingdom of God does not consist of meat, drink, and outward religion. It consists of three things here: Righteousness (3:21-31; 4:1-25; 8:4); peace (2:10; 5:1; 8:6; 10:15); joy (5:11; Gal. 5:22; 1Pet. 1:8).

‘For he that in these things serves Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.’ Any man who has righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit has three other great blessings: He is a servant of Christ, he is acceptable with God and he is approved by people.

‘Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.’ In order to have the blessings of Romans 14:17-18, we must follow whatever brings them about. All bickering over meats, drinks, sabbaths, and nonessential things must be stopped and that which edifies others must be taught.

‘For meat destroy not the work of God’ what could be clearer than this – that meat itself does not destroy God’s work? It is the bickering over meats and doubtful things which destroy the soul and liberty in using them may also cause an ignorant man to apostatize (14:13-15, 14:20-21; 1Cor. 8:7-13; 10:23-31). ‘All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eats with offence’ – all edible things (allowed under clean animals and nothing poisonous) are pure and lawful, but they become sinful to the man who eats with offense and with a defiled conscience. When erroneous, the conscience should be instructed, won over by proper knowledge and truth and not forced to do something contrary to its own knowledge and feelings regarding doubtful things (1Cor. 8:7-13; 10:23-31; 1Jn. 1:7; 2Pet. 1:4-10; 3:18).

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