Romans 14:16-18Amplified Bible
16 Therefore do not let what is a good thing for you [because of your freedom to choose] be spoken of as evil [by someone else]; 17 for the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking [what one likes], but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For the one who serves Christ in this way [recognizing that food choice is secondary] is acceptable to God and is approved by men.
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
Romans chapter 14 encourages us to consider everything we do as if we are all doing it for the Lord. It is a call to do what leads to peace and mutual edification within the body of Christ.
We are not to condemn or look down on those who are weaker, less mature, slowly, slower growing in faith but be fully convinced of what is acceptable in our own minds, as everything which does not come from faith in God is sin.
Paul’s full throated and thorough presentation of the gospel in Romans, places the Christian pilgrim, regardless of degrees of maturity, on a firm foundation.
It brings us, step by step, into spiritual maturity and holy living. It develops in us a steadfast and prayerfully immovable faith with a total Christlike attitude towards others. Slowly it helps to conform us into the image and likeness of the lovely Lord Jesus, as we develop in godly discernment and wisdom from above.
This epistle to the followers at Rome lays a solid foundation on which to build.
It warns of several pitfalls to avoid and behaviors to cultivate.
Paul’s approach was incredibly practical, gave eminently practical instructions.
He knew that all of us were accountable to God and every person was at a different level of understanding.
Because of this he gave instruction that lead toward mutual edification and building up of the body instead of tearing down by focusing on these divisions.
Much of his instruction in Romans 14 is about eating and drinking, what is (not) acceptable, and the underlying principle is just as true today as then.
The principle of what Paul is saying is that we are to fully live for God, what we do and don’t do should come out of a heart and soul conviction and not because of “obeying” rules and regulations given by others. What God has revealed to us as acceptable before him, we should accept and be confident in. (Acts 10:9-22)
Paul also reminded us that in our approach with our brothers and sisters we should be patient and loving with others in their walk without causing them confusion and putting stumbling stones in their way (Romans 14:15).
But in the same way we should not allow or give room to others to condemn us for the freedom that Christ has revealed to us.
Perhaps that is accomplished by not giving them opportunity to criticize us.
We can do this by abiding in our freedom without flaunting or making a big deal about it.
The bottom line is that the kingdom of God which we have been called into is not about these physical things and mental debates but about our availability.
Making ourselves fully available to God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
100% Surrendering, unhitching ourselves from what burdens our souls so much we are infinitely too distracted from giving our full attention to God, neighbor.
We should settle in our hearts and souls to consciously remove the minutiae, walk in the truth we know, as the kingdom is about righteousness, peace, joy.
Righteousness is the state which makes a person acceptable to God.
Through our Savior Jesus we are righteous before God as we have been given His righteousness through faith (2 Corinthians 5:20-21).
20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His appeal through us; we [as Christ’s representatives] plead with you on behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God. 21 He made Christ who knew no sin to [judicially] be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we would become the righteousness of God [that is, we would be made acceptable to Him and placed in a right relationship with Him by His gracious lovingkindness].
Next comes peace and joy, this should continually be the state of our heart.
We should strive to always walk in supernatural peace and joy because these are the fruit of the Spirit that was given to us at salvation (Galatians 5:22-24).
22 But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the [a]sinful nature together with its passions and appetites.
Paul said in the next sentence, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25).
25 If we [claim to] live by the [Holy] Spirit, we must also walk by the Spirit [with personal integrity, godly character, and moral courage—our conduct empowered by the Holy Spirit]. 26 We must not become conceited, challenging or provoking one another, envying one another.
These things are the true things that we should consider important and which we should, with eyes and hearts of utmost humility, see operating in our lives.
When we “arrive at that place” and “understand” the kingdom isn’t about the natural but is about the amazing things Jesus did and provided for us we can toss aside all of these minor details, habits and hang-ups that hold us back.
Verse 18 says that “anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men” (Romans 14:18).
As much or as little we make our hearts and souls available to God, if we truly, genuinely, live this way in righteousness, peace and joy, then God has accepted and approved our behavior and we will win favor among mankind as well.
Colossians 4:1-4J.B. Phillips New Testament
4 Remember, then, you employers, that your responsibility is to be fair and just towards those whom you employ, never forgetting that you yourselves have a heavenly employer.
Some simple, practical advice
2-4 Always maintain the habit of prayer: be both alert and thankful as you pray. Include us in your prayers, please, that God may open for us a door for the entrance of the Gospel. Pray that we may talk freely of the mystery of Christ (for which I am at present in chains), and that I may make that mystery plain to men, which I know is my duty.
Today, I am simply pondering the fullness of God and pray that you understand this amazing truth and disregard the meaningless minutiae, the non-essentials that divide, hinder you and I pray you maximally pursue God’s kingdom today!
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
Loving Father, I want to please You, not only in what I do but by who I am in Christ Jesus – my Lord and King. Thank You, that my salvation does not depend on keeping rites and rituals, but comes through faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Thank You, that righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit, comes through faith in Him. May my life be a reflection of His beauty so that in thought, word, deed, and motive I will proclaim His kingdom through my life, to the glory of Your name. In Savior Jesus’ name I pray, Alleluia! Amen.