David Hume, 18th century British philosopher who rejected historic Christianity, once met a friend hurrying along a London street and asked where he was going. The friend said he was off to hear George Whitfield preach. “But surely you don’t believe what Whitfield preaches, … More
In this chapter Paul is dealing with what may have been a temporary and local problem in the Roman Church. However the same type of problem continues to confront the church today and is always demanding a solution. We are not to be people pleasers, but we are to set aside self-pleasing actions for the sake of building others up. Our convictions must not be a disguise for cold hearted treatment of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Christians must not force their opinions on others. There are certain truths that are essential to our walk with the Lord because they are the very foundation of our faith. However, there are many other matters of honest disagreement that must not be a test of our faith. We must not try to force our convictions about these matters on to other people and make them accept whatever it is (vv 1-2). Selfishness has no part in the Christian life. Paul is not arguing here that we continually give in to a weak brother’s desires. We are to act in a way which will be to his lasting benefit.
Believers may hold different convictions about many matters, but this must be done with a loving spirit. On the other hand, the person who may not have the same conviction must not try to get this other person to violate his conscience. This is what the apostle Paul was trying to say in I Corinthians 8-9. The mature Christians knew that an idol was nothing, and that eating meat that had been offered to this idol was not wrong. But a new Christian, just converted out of idolatry, may still have fears about idols. If the mature believer tries to get the new Christian to eat meat sacrificed to an idol, the younger Christian may have problems in his conscience, and this would be wrong.
The spirit of love is the key to Paul’s teaching in these verses. He is not urging that we should give in to a weaker brother’s desires. He is simply saying that we must act in a way that will be to his lasting benefit. Selfishness has no part in a Christian’s life.
My convictions should not cause me to look down on weaker brothers but to look for ways I can help them grow stronger in their faith. It is so easy for me to display a superior attitude and turn people off who I could and should be helping in their walk with the Lord.
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.
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Romans 12:1-8Christ Brings New Life
Romans 12:9-16Rules For Christian Living
Romans 12:17-21Repay No One Evil For Evil
Romans 13:1-7Submit to Government
Romans 13:8-10Love Your Neighbor
Romans 13:11-14The Day When Christ Returns
Romans 14:1-6The Law of Liberty
Romans 14:7-12Alive or Dead it Must be For The Lord
Romans 14:13-23How Our Attitude Spreads to Others
Romans 15:1-2Please Others And Not Yourself
Romans 15:3-13The Good News is For Jews And Gentiles
Romans 15:14-19Paul’s Work as a Missionary
Romans 15:20-29Paul’s Plan to Visit Rome
Romans 15:30-33Paul Requests Prayer For The Ministry
Romans 16:1-16Paul Sends Greetings to Friends And Churches
Romans 16:17-20Avoid Devisive People
Romans 16:21-27Paul’s Closing Prayer