Matters of Opinion

Romans 14:1-4 NASB

Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

Old Covenant vs. New Covenant

Under the Old Covenant Relationship God had with his people, they had all kinds of laws they had to follow with regard to what foods they could eat or not eat. And, they had all kinds of ceremonial laws, too, which they had to follow, some of which were in relation to their eating.

But, under the New Covenant, via faith in Jesus Christ, those laws concerning food and ceremony were done away with.

Nonetheless, God’s moral laws were upheld under the New Covenant and were summarized into two laws: to love God with all our hearts, soul and mind, and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves (Matt. 22:36-40).

Yet, some Jews who became Christians had a difficult time transitioning to the new freedoms which they had in Christ, and they still felt compelled to follow some of those Old Covenant restrictions with regard to their eating. So, they were regarded as those who were “weak in faith,” not because of sin, but because their consciences would not allow them the freedom to partake of food which they had all their lives considered as unclean.

So, the whole object of this teaching here was to instruct those, who had the freedom in Christ to eat what formerly they could not eat, that they should not look down upon those who did not yet exercise that freedom. And, those who still felt compelled to follow the old dietary restrictions were not to look down upon those who now had that freedom in Christ to eat what before they were forbidden to eat.

Application to Today

This teaching is in regard to matters of opinion, of practice, but not of sin, other than with regard to the sin of judging others in regard to disputable matters.

This is NOT saying that we should not judge sin in one another. We should. If our brother or sister is walking in sin, and is unrepentant, we who are spiritual should restore that one, i.e. bring that person back to walking in truth and righteousness. And, this will involve making a judgment concerning their sin, confronting that sin, and leading them to turn from their sin and to turn their hearts back over to the Lord to follow Him.

But, “sin” should be defined by what God calls “sin” under the New Covenant, not under the Old Covenant. And, sin should not be defined according to rules which are man-made, either, i.e. such as human traditions which have been passed down from generation to generation, some of which are, in fact, things carried over from the Old Covenant and/or from Catholicism (prior to the reformation).

Thus, if we must make a judgment (not to condemn) with regard to sin in someone’s life (to restore him or her), then we must make certain that it is sin, as defined by God under the New Covenant.

As well, we must not take this passage, on the subject of judging one another on disputable matters, and use it to avoid judging sin in one another, which is for the purpose to restore one another back to pure fellowship with our Lord Jesus.

The whole object of this lesson is that we should not be condemning and critical of one another with regard to matters of opinion or practice which do not fall under the category of sin, as defined by God under the New Covenant.

If our consciences dictate that we should refrain from something which, in and of itself is not sinful, then we should not stand in judgment over others who choose not to follow our consciences, and they should not stand in judgment over us because of what our consciences do not allow for.

Romans 14:5-9 NASB

One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

Old Covenant vs. New Covenant

Under the Old Covenant Relationship God had with his people, he set aside one day a week which was a day of rest for his people from their labor, and it was a day given over to God to worship him. It was the 7th day, which is our Saturday, and it was called “The Sabbath.”

There were all kinds of rules the Jewish people had to follow with regard to the Sabbath, as well, which the Jewish elders added to, evidently. For, Jesus took on the Pharisees often because they often chided Jesus as one who was not following the Sabbath restrictions, mainly because he healed people on the Sabbath. But, Jesus said that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath, and that he was Lord of the Sabbath (Mk. 2:27-28).

But, the Pharisees were acting hypocritically, for they had no problems circumcising on the Sabbath or rescuing a sheep on the Sabbath, yet they were critical of Jesus because he healed human beings on the Sabbath, and so they went after him vehemently to try to trip him up.

So, during Jesus’ earthly ministry, he did not uphold all of the Jewish requirements of the Sabbath, but he allowed for mercy to triumph. And, he taught what was really behind the Sabbath, which is that we love God with all our hearts, minds and souls and that we love our neighbors as ourselves.

And, then, as we move into the teachings of the early church and those of the NT apostles, we see that the strict adherence to following the Sabbath law was no longer in force, rather what was being taught is that our Sabbath rest is our salvation (See: Heb. 4:1-13).

Our “Sabbath rest” has to do with us trusting Jesus Christ with our lives and resting in him and ceasing with human effort to try to attain God’s approval or to work our own will and ways of the flesh. And, obedience to God’s moral laws are foundational to us entering that rest (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

But, again, some Jews who had become Christians struggled with that freedom to no longer worship God in the same way as they had always done before, but to now worship him “in spirit and in truth” (See: Jn. 4:24). They struggled to understand that our “Sabbath rest” is now our salvation and that every day should be a day as unto the Lord, not just one day a week.

So, the teaching here is that those who still followed regarding the Sabbath day (which was a Saturday) as a day above all other days were not to stand in judgment over those who now had the freedom to regard every day alike. And, those who had the freedom to regard every day the same were not to look down on those who still felt that they had to regard the Sabbath day above all other days. For, if each were truly worshiping the Lord in what they did, and not just one day a week, but every day, they were doing so as to the Lord.

Application to Today

A lot of this speaks for itself, but let me share here a few closing thoughts on this subject.

When we believe in Jesus Christ, to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we enter His rest, his salvation, and we now trust Jesus Christ with our lives rather than continue to live to please our sinful flesh. Jesus becomes our Lord (owner-master) and we are his servants (his followers).

We now are the temple of God, for God lives within us in the person of the Holy Spirit. So, we no longer have to go to a physical building called “church” in order to worship God or to fellowship with the body of Christ. We can meet with other believers for worship, praise, prayer and fellowship any day of the week and in any location.

God does not dwell in buildings called “church,” and many of these are, in fact, man-made institutions and corporations (businesses) under the federal government. Yet, God does not approve of these because they have turned his house into a marketplace, into businesses of men, and they have partnered with the ungodly (the government and the world) in order to “win the world” to their businesses. And, thus many have also diluted the gospel in order to appease the world.

So, if you are one who still believes that you have to follow the Sabbath as a day of rest and of worship to God, and that this day is to be regarded above all other days of the week more highly, then you should not look down on those who have the freedom to regard all days the same, as days unto the Lord. And those of us, who have the freedom to meet with the body of Christ any day of the week at any location or time of day, should not look down on you because you still believe you must honor the Jewish Sabbath.

Nonetheless, if you are teaching that God dwells in those buildings, and that those buildings are the “house of God,” that is false. And, if you are teaching that your church’s “sanctuary” is where we enter into God’s presence, that is also false. And, if you are partnering with the world and the government in turning God’s house into a marketplace, and if you are diluting the gospel in order to not offend the people of the world, then that is wrong.

As well, if you are gluttonous about your eating, that is sinful.

Bottom line is that we must follow the teachings of the New Testament under the New Covenant, and we must love God with all our heart, soul and mind, and love our neighbors as ourselves, and not look down on one another with regard to what is not required of us but is a matter of opinion.

My Jesus, I Love Thee

Hymn lyrics by William R. Featherstone, 1864
Music by Adoniram J. Gordon, 1876

My Jesus, I love thee, I know thou art mine;
For thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art thou;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love thee because thou hast first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;
I love thee for wearing the thorns on thy brow;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say, when the death-dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

*Copyright status is public domain

Wednesday, August 15, 2018 – Thank You, Jesus!

 

5 thoughts on “Matters of Opinion

  1. That’s a different interpretation of our Sabbath rest than I’ve seen before. I do agree that we are to take it as “resting” from all our fleshly works, and work as unto the Lord, which we are able to do only as we are filled with His Holy Spirit.
    Thank you for your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amen, Sue!!! It’s so true! I’ve never thought of this perspective of “weak in faith” but I feel like you’ve given me words to many things and situations I’ve thought of and I see people struggle in.

    Liked by 1 person

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