Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“1 Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2 One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”
In our passage for the week, Paul tackles the issue of rebuking Christians in Rome for standing in judgment over one another. Remember that the church in Rome is made up of two groups of people: Gentiles who had come to faith, and Jewish believers. He divides them up into two different groups: those who are “weak [in faith]” and those who are “strong [in faith]”.
Douglas Moo tells us, “The weak were those—mainly Jewish Christians—who could not bring themselves to abandon the requirements of the law they had observed all their lives. They could not, as Christians, simply ignore the food laws, Sabbath observance, and so on. The strong, by contrast, felt no need to observe these laws. Most of them were undoubtedly Gentile Christians, although a few, like Paul himself (see the “we” in 15: 1), were Jewish Christians. The weak condemned the strong for cavalierly dismissing God’s laws, while the strong pooh-poohed the weak, looking down on them for clinging to the old ways when the new had come. Paul sides with the strong on the basic issues involved, but his main concern is to get each group to stop criticizing the other and to accept each other in a spirit of love and unity.”
The problem is their judgmental attitude; they’re getting outside of their lane. It would be better if they would just give way to tolerance and mutual recognition. This is why Paul reminds them that it is to God, not to each other, that every believer must ultimately answer. These are not unbelievers, they are Christ followers! It is not open to us to criticize others, still less to condemn them. That right belongs to God alone.
We must always remember that mutual toleration is a Christian virtue. God accepts each believer, along with issues stemming from their background and maturity level, and is able to sanctify them. Though we may be used of God to help inform weak believers, we must never criticize another’s household slave. It is not in our judgment that others stand or fall, but in the judgment of God. God can make them able to stand. The strong stand or fall before God, and they will stand righteous before God on the last day because God will give them grace to keep them from falling away.
So, questions for us to consider are: Do you have a critical spirit? Are you quick to judge folks? If you do, ask God to help you to stop. Ask Him to show you why you tend to do this, and then repent.
*From what you have just read and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the Gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible. The Cambridge Bible Commentary, Romans, Best, Ernest. Romans 8-16 For You: For reading, for feeding, for leading (God’s Word For You – Romans Series Book 2, Keller, Timothy.