Monday, 16 December 2013
For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. Romans 14:7
We are reminded, based on the previous discussion concerning foods and days, that “none of us lives to himself.” We are accountable to God and to live for God. What He has ordained is right and therefore we are to treat His granted liberties as appropriate. In essence, those around us who eat differently or worship differently are to be given regard for their choices without judgment as long as they are not forbidden. For example, we may not like others eating pork, but there is nothing wrong with it. We may like to eat pork and we shouldn’t be shamed by those who don’t. The food is acceptable because we have been accepted (see Acts 10:34, 35, for example).
Disputable matters are to be handled as such. And not only do none of us live to ourselves, but “no one dies to himself” either. God is in control of our lives and He likewise controls our deaths. The timing of our death, the duration of our time in the grave, the status we will be given in eternity, and the rewards and losses we shall receive are all up to Him. As we don’t control these things, then why should we judge other believers in matters of a disputable nature which He alone will decide upon? There are enough doctrinal issues which are clear and of great importance that we don’t need to get in a tizzy over the lesser issues.
Remember though, there is a difference between freedom to act and being coerced into acting. We have the freedom to eat what we wish, or abstain from the same. We have the freedom to observe whatever day we wish or consider all days the same. But when we are told that we must eat or not eat, or that we must observe or not observe, then a line is crossed. Imposing the law where the law has been set aside is to set aside the grace of Christ.
Understanding this distinction is necessary because it all comes down to what God has done in Christ. Freedom in Him is exactly that, freedom. Rejecting what He has done then can only be bondage. Let us never allow our freedoms to be exchanged for a return to bondage.
Life application: Because we neither live nor die to self, we are to live for God and in harmony with those who are likewise in Christ. Be separate from those who attempt to find fault in disputable matters and be at peace with God.
O God, thank You for allowing me to live at such a time in history that I have such easy access to Your word. With the advent of the printing press, modern transportation, industry, radio, TV, and now the internet, I have it better than any generation before me. It is literally at my fingertips at any moment. Thank You that I can read it and study it throughout the day! What a blessing. Thank You, O God. Amen.