Thursday, 12 December 2013
Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. Romans 14:3
This is plain and clear. People eat meat because God has ordained that meat is to be eaten. Those who don’t eat meat need to not be hostile to those who do. They have every right and freedom to do so and therefore, because God has allowed it, there should be no argument against it by those who refrain.
Likewise, there are those who abstain from eating meat. They may have a tender spot for animals; they may have an inability to eat meat because of their physical makeup; they may have a guilt complex that is deep-seated and which interferes with their ability to enjoy it. For these or any other reasons, they need to not be judged by “him who eats.”
In either situation, if God has received that individual, how can we despise them? This thought goes right back to verse 10 of chapter 13, “Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” If God has received a person, then for us to be unloving toward them is showing a disdain for the person whom God has already accepted. John would go so far as to say, “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” 1 John 4:20
The very notion of “loving God” but then despising a person God loves is contrary to sound reason. We need to evaluate our relationships based on this higher perspective and be willing to accept the perceived shortcomings of another based on His view of that person. But again as noted in the previous verse, if someone is a contrarian and is violating set Scripture through their dietary restrictions by reinserting the law which has been set aside in Christ, then they are to be dismissed outright. Such legalism can only cause a wall between others and Christ. This cannot be accepted.
In the end, doctrine does matter. Without proper adherence to the precepts laid out before us, then anything goes. And this is not how God works in any dispensation. We are freed from the law but our freedom is not license to sin. There is, and there must be maintained, a proper balance in our lives and doctrine.
Life application: Don’t lord your freedom to eat over another to their harm. Rather know that God has accepted them and so love them as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Heavenly Father, as time goes on, each day draws us nearer to the completion of Your marvelous plan for the sons of Adam. Thank You for Jesus who came to reconcile us to You and on Whom we wait, counting the moments until He comes for His church. May that glorious Day be soon. Amen.