Romans Romans 14:1-3 “Embracing Unity in Faith: Navigating Differences and Disputable Matters

Romans Romans 14:1-3 "Embracing Unity in Faith: Navigating Differences and Disputable Matters

August 22, 2023

Series: Romans

Book: Romans

Romans Romans 14:1-3

Romans 14:1-3 “Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them.”

As I engaged with this verse, I discovered a commentary section within my Bible. About twenty years ago, I acquired this Bible with a specific purpose – I recognized the name of the commentator, a prominent figure in the Christian community. My intention was rooted in seeking insight from this well-regarded leader. As I journeyed through the Word of God, my reading extended to the year 2012. With each passing year, I began to discern the limitations inherent in the perspectives offered by this esteemed leader’s comments. Gradually, I found myself relinquishing the practice of consulting these comments altogether.

Unexpectedly, this morning prompted me to revisit his commentary on these very verses. Regrettably, I noted that the content mirrored the prevailing sentiments often echoed from the pews across different congregations. The consensus seems to be that, within the context, Paul addressed the concept of weaker brethren in the context of new believers. Consequently, sermons frequently revolve around this interpretation.

When humans examine these verses, we often become fixated on our behavior in relation to new believers and those who rely on rules for functioning. Subsequently, the next logical progression for us is to turn to God or engage in reading the Word of God, seemingly assuming that we already comprehend God’s intentions. This predisposition fosters a mindset that inadvertently closes us off to the guidance of the Spirit, which serves as the conduit for unveiling the depth of the Word.

The crux of the matter emerges when we willingly permit the Spirit of God to fulfill His role within us. As we grant Him the space to instruct us, in the very manner intended and defined by God, an astonishing revelation unfolds—there exists an abundance of wisdom hidden beneath the surface of these verses. In truth, every verse within the Bible holds a wealth of insights that God can unveil to us beyond the literal words on the page. As we embark on a journey of learning guided by the Spirit, a remarkable shift occurs. The allure of alternative sources pales in comparison, for the Spirit’s teachings are unparalleled. Applying this approach to the mentioned verses, a revelation emerges: the Holy Spirit transcends the limitations of Paul’s words, delving into realms beyond what was penned in the text.

Strangely, the initial lesson imparted by the Spirit of God concerning this verse illuminated the contrast between two distinct individuals. On one hand, there is the authentic new believer, characterized by a fledgling faith. On the other hand, there exists an individual who, despite uttering the sinners’ prayer, remains unregenerate and devoid of the foundational experience of having their heart convicted. The divergence between these two becomes immediately apparent, influencing our outlook toward each of them.

In that moment of revelation, a marked distinction emerges in our disposition toward these two categories of individuals. Notably, our responses and prayers for them diverge significantly. One demands the rebirth experience, necessitating God’s intervention to eradicate ignorance and stubbornness, among other obstacles. Conversely, the new believer requires a distinct set of supplications. Our prayers extend toward beseeching God to illuminate their path with greater understanding, shielding them from the snares of Satan during this early stage akin to consuming spiritual baby formula. Moreover, our petitions encompass a request for heightened courage, instilling within them a deeper yearning to progress on their spiritual journey, driven by an increased desire to know God intimately.

Navigating this terrain becomes notably intricate, necessitating an approach characterized by utmost sensitivity, particularly when engaging with individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds. Our endeavor involves discerning whether we stand before someone deeply rooted in their own cultural practices, yet simultaneously an infant in the faith—navigating the early stages of their spiritual journey. Alternatively, we must differentiate those who appear to adhere to a list of regulations due to their cultural inclinations. A pivotal aspect of embodying the role of a more mature member within the faith community pertains to the well-being of fellow believers. It rests upon our shoulders to ascertain the true nature of the situation at hand. Our discernment is paramount, for it is incumbent upon us to differentiate between these diverse scenarios.

However, our journey doesn’t conclude here. The guidance of the Spirit of God propels us to transcend the boundaries of these initial considerations. These verses encompass a scope that extends far beyond our initial understanding. This transformation occurs due to our alignment with the mind of Christ—a fundamental aspect of our being. Consequently, our comprehension expands to encapsulate the vastness of the divine intention that permeated Paul’s words as they were penned. Yet, the revelation doesn’t conclude with a mere expansion of comprehension. It extends further, unearthing the limitations inherent in our human perspective. This realization stems from our newfound vantage point, one that is intricately intertwined with the mind of Christ.

As I observed the intricate tapestry of God’s mindset, plan, and purpose often engenders bewilderment and frustration. Gradually, I came to recognize that these feelings of confusion and frustration are a natural part of the journey. They stem from the simple fact that we may not yet be prepared to grasp the fullness of what God intends. Our spiritual growth is a prerequisite to reaching a stage where deeper revelations can be unveiled to us. Consider this: as we peer into the backdrop of God’s design, we do so through a lens—glimpsing into the expanse of His mind. However, we must acknowledge our inherent limitations. The vastness of His wisdom and knowledge is not something we are inherently equipped to comprehend. In fact, the sheer enormity of it all would overwhelm us if we were granted unrestricted access. It’s akin to gazing at a crest forming in a river’s flow. We witness it ascending higher and higher yet remain oblivious to its ultimate apex. This crest, while intriguing, carries with it an unspoken knowledge that its eventual descent will unleash a torrential flood—bringing about potential devastation on the other side. The complexity and grandeur of this perspective are genuinely mind-boggling.

The crux of the matter revolves less around our capacity to manage interactions with the “NEW” Christians mentioned in these verses above. Instead, God’s desire for us is to arrive at a vantage point wherein we can see and interact with Him through them, all while possessing the mind of Christ of course. The intention is for us to adopt this perspective and embrace them with the very same heart that Christ would embody. This goes beyond merely the actions we take to practice those verses. It is about an integral transformation, becoming an embodiment of this mindset. Such a transformation is not within the realm of mere deeds; it encompasses a profound metamorphosis into a new way of being. It is the inward life. This is attainable only when we relinquish our solitary existence and invite the triune God to manifest this life within us. Suddenly, we cease to merely perform expected tasks. Instead, we authentically embody the person that God envisions when He speaks of practicing these verses.

In the process of becoming this individual, we experience a revelation that transcends the surface-level rules penned by Paul. We’ve surpassed those regulations, delving into the core of the matter—the substantial truths they encapsulate. This transition signifies that the essence once harbored solely within the mind of God now resides within us. It has transformed from a concept to a reality, shaping who we are at our very core.

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