Thursday, 2 January 2014
Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. Romans 14:22
Paul is speaking to believers, therefore he is speaking to people of faith. Because this is so, the logical conclusion is that his question, “Do you have faith?” Is not speaking of saving faith. Instead, it is speaking of the faith which is implied in verses 14-21. This is faith to act in disputable matters. For example, the person who has “faith” to eat all things as opposed to those who lack the faith to eat certain foods. In such an instance, when it will obviously harm another to exercise your faith, then restrain from doing so.
Many Jewish believers don’t eat pork. Whether you feel that is right or wrong, would it be right to invite such a friend to your house and serve ham along with the other food? No! Nor would it be right to invite them over and, even without serving ham, argue the point that ham is ok thus insinuating that they aren’t acting like mature Christians. These are the kinds of things that can only lead to unhappiness in them. In turn it will lead to unhappiness in you. Instead of such an attitude, exercise your faith before God, exercise your freedoms when they won’t harm, and don’t cause an air of animosity to arise over such disputable matters.
And Paul explains why – “Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.” By acting in this manner you are actually bringing condemnation on yourself. Again, this is not speaking of condemnation from salvation, as if such a matter could cause the loss of salvation. Rather it is speaking of condemning thoughts. Such thoughts are, as will be revealed in the next verse, what leads to sin. This is also revealed to us by John in his first epistle
“Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.” 1 John 3:21
Life application: Just because we have the right to do certain things, and just because we have the faith to exercise that right, it doesn’t make it right to follow through with that thing if it will cause another to violate their conscience. By causing others to sin, we sin.
Gracious Lord God, it’s the beginning of a new day with unlimited possibilities ahead. I pray that I will use this day to Your glory and with all of the abilities You have granted me. Help me to not waste my time or the chances that come up, but to meet each challenge and opportunity with boldness. Thank You for the day ahead. Amen.