Saturday, 21 December 2013
So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Romans 14:12
The word “so” is given as a confirming note concerning the previous thought. Paul has been extremely clear in our responsibilities to those who are weaker in the faith. If they, because of their weakness in the faith, abstain from meats then we are to accept that. If someone who is deeply grounded in Christ esteems every day the same (meaning he doesn’t have a particular day of worship set aside), then we are not to judge him for his freedom. We are not the judge of biblically non-stated matters. We have no authority to point accusing fingers at the freedom exercised by others which has been granted by Christ.
This has been the context of the entire chapter so far, including verse 11. Though verse 11 made a true statement about all humanities’ acknowledgment of Jesus as Lord, that is not the intent of that verse as regards the surrounding context. Rather, the intent is the responsibility of all believers to Jesus, not to the external pressures or whims of other believers. In such non-defined matters then “each of us shall give account of himself to God.”
Those things that we do with freedom of conscience will be accepted. But there are those things which we did apart from a good conscience. Paul will sum those things up in the last verse of this chapter with the words “for whatever is not from faith is sin.” Sin can come from acting in a manner contrary to our own lack of faith. And that can easily come from external pressure as he tells us in 1 Corinthians 8:9-13 –
“But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols? And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.”
As you can see from these verses, sin isn’t just working against our own conscience, but it is also sin to make another work against their conscience. God wants us to live in faith and to teach others to live in faith. When we violate this, we sin.
Life application: Let us consider that Paul’s words in Romans 14 do not cover the judging of actual violations of Scripture. We are obligated to judge such matters. But judging doubtful matters not defined in the Bible is wrong. If we don’t know our Bibles, then how can we make or withhold judgment? Know your Bible!
Once again Lord God, I come before You to acknowledge Your presence in my life. Help me to grow in my knowledge of You, to stand on the principles You have given in Your word, and to demonstrate Your character towards those around me. Help me to be loving to those who need love, cry with those who mourn, stand against wickedness in the world, and above all – to proclaim that there is pardon and redemption in Christ. Help me in these things, O God. Amen.