Tuesday, 31 December 2013
Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, butit is evil for the man who eats with offense. Romans 14:20
“Do not destroy the work of God…” What is this referring to? It is the work of God in Christ Jesus, fulfilling the law and its requirements so that we can live in newness of the Spirit. Jesus Christ is now building a temple with His followers as “living stones” in that building. The word Paul uses for “destroy” signifies to tear down a structure. When we use something such as dietary restrictions (which have been set aside in Christ) as a standard of judgment toward others, we in essence “tear down” portions of His temple. We either make believers ineffective or we keep people from becoming believers. Who would want to participate in a legalistic, finger pointing religion?
And so, “for the sake of food” we sin against our fellow man and diminish the glory of the Lord and “the work of God” in others’ eyes. What a terrible price to pay over something which isn’t even prescribed in His word! And this is absolutely certain because Paul continues, “All things indeed are pure…” That statement could not be any clearer. He is talking about foods and then, even in the exact same verse, he makes this proclamation. And yet there are denominations by the score who put unscriptural burdens on their followers, “Don’t eat, don’t touch!” Instead of God’s word as the standard, they promote their agenda. Instead of the freedom which is found in Christ, there is bondage and harsh rule.
And because of a mishandling of the word, the result then is that it becomes “evil for the man who eats with offense.” If a Christian is told that drinking soda is wrong and then another Christian says that soda drinking is fine, there is now a dilemma in their mind. “Which do I believe?” If they go ahead and drink a soda when they feel it may be wrong, they have now committed evil because they are consuming the soda with a guilty conscience. This is the sad state of the neurotic believer who is swayed by every form of doctrine which blows their way. They actually sin through their own lack of knowledge and their guilty conscience over a matter which is really not an issue that should have ever arisen.
Life application: It is the word which prescribes what we can and cannot do. By knowing the word and understanding the work of Christ on our behalf, we will remain free from sinning against our guilty conscience. Don’t ever stop reading and learning your Bible.
Lord God, as the year is ending, I want to take a moment and thank You for all You have done for me in the past year. There were many joys and blessings. There was abundance and delight. Along with them, there were some trials and setbacks… but You never left my side and You carried me through each one. Thank You, O God, for this wonderful life You have blessed me with. Amen.