Romans 14 … Consider His Kingdom

for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, (14:17).

There was much commitment to maintaining faithfulness amongst the early church in Rome, albeit misplaced. In their fervency to walk in fidelity, the believers, now seemingly preoccupied with the “dos and don’ts” of the faith, placed themselves in the seat of judgement to discern who was, and was not, fit as a servant of Christ.

Who are you to judge the servant of another?… (14:4).

As his object lesson pertaining to the provisions and prohibitions laid out in the Law, Paul uses the example of eating meat and observing the Sabbath.

Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only… One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. 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, (14:1-2, 5-6).

Throughout his entire letter to the Romans, Paul had clearly laid out God’s provision to experience and enjoy His Presence. Because Jesus Christ fulfilled the Law, adherence to rules and regulations were no longer required. Right standing before God is the result of believing faith in His sacrifice and resurrection to accomplish our salvation.

that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation, (Romans 10:9-10).

So then, what does Paul mean when he speaks about “weak faith?”

Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only, (14:1-2).

Paul is not addressing the “non-negotiables” of the Christian faith in Jesus Christ: His virgin birth, His sinless life, His death as payment for our sins, His resurrection, conquering death and granting life to all who place their faith in Him and Him alone.

When Paul speaks of faith that results in salvation (i.e., Romans 10:17; Ephesians 2:8), he uses a slightly different word in the Greek.

  •  So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ, (Romans 10:17).
  • For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast, (Ephesians 2:8).
    • Translated as “faith” in Romans 10:17 and Ephesians 2:8:
      4100. πιστεύω pisteúō; fut. pisteúsō, from pístis (4102), faith. To believe, have faith in, trust…” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance

Although the above shares the same root, it is not the same word, “faith,” penned in Romans14:1.

  • Now accept the one who is weak in faith
    • Translated as “faith” in Romans 14:1 “4102. πίστις pístis; gen. písteōs, fem. noun from peíthō (3982), to win over, persuade. Faith. Subjectively meaning firm persuasion, conviction…” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance

In Romans 14, Paul addresses our subjective persuasions, what some refer to as the “negotiables” of our faith: those views that are not black and white in Scripture, and which definitely do not result in salvation.

  • One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind, (14:5).
    • regard: “2919. κρίνω krínō; fut. krinṓ, aor. ékrina, aor. pass. ekríthēn, perf. kékrika. To separate, distinguish, discriminate between good and evil, select, choose out the good. In the NT, it means to judge, to form or give an opinion after separating and considering the particulars of a case. To judge in one’s own mind as to what is right, proper, expedient; to deem, decide, determine…” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance

So this faith, about food and the Sabbath, is a conviction or one’s own opinion, a result of personally judging and forming this opinion after considering and distinguishing the particulars. Paul neither condemns nor affirms this practice; but instead he expounds on what is to be of the utmost importance in every believer’s life, the “non-negotiable” essentials of His Kingdom.

Consider His Kingdom

  • His Kingdom, a Kingdom of only One Master, Who Alone Is Able to make us stand.
    • 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, (14:4).
  • His Kingdom, a Kingdom not defined or confined by behavior.
    • for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, (14:17).
  • His Kingdom, a Kingdom of Righteousness and Peace and Joy in the Holy Spirit.
    • for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, (14:17).
      • His Kingdom, a Kingdom established within His Righteousness.
        • and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, (Philippians 3:9).
          • 88.13 δικαιοσύνηa, ης f: the act of doing what God requires—‘righteousness, doing what God requires, doing what is right.’ Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament
      • His Kingdom, a Kingdom expressed within His Peace.
        • But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, (Ephesians 2:13-14).
          • 22.42 εἰρήνηa, ης f: a set of favorable circumstances involving peace and tranquility—‘peace, tranquility.’ Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament
      • His Kingdom, a Kingdom experienced within His Joy.
        • Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full,” (John 15:9-11).
          • 25.123 χαράa, ᾶς f: a state of joy and gladness—‘joy, gladness, great happiness.’ Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament
      • His Kingdom, a Kingdom empowered by His Holy Spirit and encouraged within His Love and Liberty.
        • …the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us, (Romans 5:5).
        • Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, (2 Corinthians 3:17).

How do we respond to His Kingdom?

  • As we depend on Him in faith, we are assured He will strengthen us to stand strong in His Kingdom. And we can be set free from being caught up in the “negotiables” as we commit to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Let us pray that love will abound and that His gifts of wisdom and discernment be realized.
    • 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. (14:4).
    • And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; 11 having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God, (Philippians 1:9-11).
  • As we trust His Holy Spirit’s power that enables us to stand up for His Kingdom in this world, let us be about that which matters most: pursing peace for the building up of one another in the unity of the faith.
    • So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. 20 Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food… (14:19-20).
    • …walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, (Ephesians 4:1-3).
  • Let us set our lives on His Kingdom purposes in pursuing peace and unity so as to never be a cause of offense or stumbling. May we always put the needs of others before our own personal convictions.
    • 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. (14:20-21).
    • Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others, (Philippians 2:3-4).
  • And when we are faithful to the “negotiable” convictions we have discerned from His Word for ourselves, we can enjoy His Kingdom with a conscience free of guilt.
    • 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, (14:22-23).
    • But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith, (1 Timothy 1:5).
  • Let us remember, we can have disagreements about the “negotiables” while still pursuing the unity of the faith. May we always choose love and forgiveness over our own insistence on being right, as we commit to live this life according to His Kingdom.
    • for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, (14:17).
    • So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity, (Colossians 3:12-14).

Let’s Grow Together!

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