Previously: romans 14:5-6, esteeming days part two
For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living. But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written:
“As I live, says the Lord,
Every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall confess to God.”
So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way. Rom 14:7-13
Someone asked me, “So we aren’t to judge with righteous judgments according to His Word?”
We saw that Paul was talking about two issues in the church in Rom 14, having to do with eating or not eating. and esteeming days or not esteeming days. The modern church reads Rom 14 out of the context of the rest of Scripture, and assumes that Paul is now saying we are no longer to obey the command of Scripture in eating clean or unclean food, or resting from labor on the seventh day Sabbath. The modern church has used Rom 14 as Scriptural proof that every believer is now to decide for himself what is right and wrong without being judged.
Let me carefully repeat what has already been said so that there are no misunderstandings. Scripture is clear on defining clean and unclean food. Scripture is clear on resting on the seventh day Sabbath. These things are not “doubtful things” (Rom 14:1). What Paul is talking about in Rom 14 are doubtful things. He is not discussing clean and unclean food or Sabbath rest.
I suggested with Scriptural evidence that the food issue he was being asked about, was whether eating meat sacrificed to idols was the same as practicing idolatry (here and here). This issue is a true doubtful thing, a true gray area. Paul’s answer, we saw, was “Who are you to judge the servant of another?”
I suggested with Scriptural, and cultural and historical evidence, that the esteeming days issue he was being asked about, was, for example, whether celebrating Jesus’ resurrection on Ishtar’s day (Easter) was the same as practicing idolatry (here and here). This issue is a true doubtful thing, a true gray area. Paul’s answer is “But why do you judge your brother?”
He is saying, “Simply because your brother is eating lamb from a butcher shop, how you can you conclude that he is practicing idolatry in his heart? You can’t know what is in his heart, so you cannot make the judgment call of idolatry.” He is saying, “Simply because your brother is gathering with his family on Ishtar’s day (perhaps it is his practice to gather with them every Sunday), how can you conclude that he is practicing idolatry in his heart? You can’t know what is in his heart, so you cannot make the judgment call of idolatry.”
He is not saying the Law of God has changed, the commandments of God have changed, and what has already been clearly defined in the Scriptures as right and wrong, has now changed. No. But no one should pass judgment on others in doubtful things, in gray areas, since you too will stand before the judgment seat of Christ. (And I tremble to judge others at all.)
Continued: romans 14 chiastic structure