Romans 14: 13-23

The argument continues today, about how we live with each other, who practice varying observances –  and comply with rules with more or less success. It Paul is not pitching rule-bound moralism, Is he immoral, or amoral? Of course not! 

Rules of moral action are not the whole of ethics –  sources and authorities and worldview, values and principles and construing of truth are the invisible deeper elements of these icebergs! 

The distinction here is between the holy and profane –  that’s not true/false, or good/bad, or beautiful/ugly. It’s an unfamiliar category for us…. What is divine?  What’s not? Surely all creation is sacred –  though some is desecrated by humans 

We are all moral –  but my morality differs from yours.  Ethics is the discourse among and between our moralities. Paul is not simply prescribing rules, or prohibiting them, but inviting us into Christian ethical discourse… How much does our subjective cognitive assent –  the way we construe reality and describe it –  determine our choices and rule-bound practices? 

Our belief and conviction is distinguishable and bigger: trusting that our opinion is true and justified, and being prepared to act upon it, in relation to others, and to Torah and Christ… that’s closer to Paul’s topic here. 

‘Blessed is she’ – ‘Happy the one’ – who gets it! 

The rest of us keep doubting, judged, and less happy…. 

Why can’t we trust we are put right by the faithfulness of God? 

13 Let us then no longer judge one another but rather adjudge this, not to put a stumbling block or an obstacle before the brother-or-sister.

14 I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is intrinsically profane; except that for one who counts something profane, for that one is it profane.

15 For if on account of food thy brother-or-sister is grieved, thou no longer walkest according to love. Do not by thy food destroy one for whom Christ died. 

16 Do not then let thy good thing be reviled.

17For the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.   

18 or one who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by humans.   

19 So then we pursue the things of peace and mutual edification. 

20 Do not destroy the work of God because of food.  All things are pure, to be sure, but [eating] is bad for the human who eats in a situation [where eating] is a stumbling block. 

21 It is good not to eat meat nor to drink wine nor [do] anything [else] on which thy brother-or-sister might stumble.  

22 The faith which thou hast keep to thyself before God. Happy is the one who does not judge himself by what he approves,

23 but the one who doubts is condemned if he eats, because it is not done out of conviction; and everything which is not [done] out of conviction is sin. 

 

13 Forget about deciding what's right for each other. Here's what you need to be concerned about: that you don't get in the way of someone else, making life more difficult than it already is. 

14 I'm convinced Jesus convinced me! –  that everything as it is in itself is holy. We, of course, by the way we treat it or talk about it, can contaminate it. 

15 If you confuse others by making a big issue over what they eat or don't eat, you're no longer a companion with them in love, are you? These, remember, are persons for whom Christ died. Would you risk sending them to hell over an item in their diet? 

16 Don't you dare let a piece of God-blessed food become an occasion of soul-poisoning! 

17 God's kingdom isn't a matter of what you put in your stomach, for goodness' sake. It's what God does with your life as he sets it right, puts it together, and completes it with joy. 

18 Your task is to single-mindedly serve Christ. Do that and you'll kill two birds with one stone: pleasing the God above you and proving your worth to the people around you. 

19 So let's agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other.  Help others with encouraging words; 

20 don't drag them down by finding fault. You're certainly not going to permit an argument over what is served or not served at supper to wreck God's work among you, are you? I said it before and I'll say it again: All food is good, but it can turn bad if you use it badly, if you use it to trip others up and send them sprawling. 

21 When you sit down to a meal, your primary concern should not be to feed your own face but to share the life of Jesus. So be sensitive and courteous to the others who are eating. Don't eat or say or do things that might interfere with the free exchange of love. 

22 Cultivate your own relationship with God, but don't impose it on others.  You're fortunate if your behaviour and your belief are coherent. 

23 But if you're not sure, if you notice that you are acting in ways inconsistent with what you believe – some days trying to impose your opinions on others, other days just trying to please them – then you know that you're out of line. If the way you live isn't consistent with what you believe, then it's wrong.