Paul puts forth the Principles of Conscience Part 2
Romans 14:14-23 I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense. It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles. The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin. NKJV
Paul continues with his illustrations to the Christians in Rome by again showing how each individual redeemed child of God must be vigilant to make sure they do not allow others to squeeze them into eating certain foods or participating in certain activities they are not comfortable with or doing. For example, I personally desire not or will not drink any sort of alcoholic beverage for it would go against my conscience and conviction in that area. However, the Bible (specifically the New Testament) nowhere that I have found commands a follower of Christ to never drink wine, because the Apostle Paul said these words to brother Timothy, 1 Timothy 5:23 No longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments. NKJV It is obvious that Paul meant fermented wine or wine that could get a person intoxicated, because only that sort of wine would be useful for Timothy’s ailment. The Bible condemns being drunk with wine as sin and drunkenness is sin that will condemn to hell. Remember these words from the Apostle Paul, Ephesians 5:18 “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit” NKJV Paul was here speaking to fellow brethren or believers in Ephesus not to unsaved, unredeemed, or unregenerate men and women.
Paul knows from direct revelation from our Lord Jesus Christ that no food meat or vegetable is unclean or unholy or defiled because he said this to the Colossian believers, Colossians 2:18-23 Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God. If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)--in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence. NKJV However, we should respect our fellow brethren who do not desire to eat certain foods or partake in any alcoholic beverage socially because to do otherwise would be to weaken the conscience of one Christ died for and to stand in the place of the Head of the Body which belongs singularly to Christ Jesus our Lord.
Paul then goes on to show how foolish it is for us to contend over non-essential things as eating or drinking when we all are blessed which is translated from the Greek word makarios which means happy, well-off, or fortunate. Paul says we are makarios to be in the Kingdom of God and being therein, we have received righteousness meaning we have and are in right standing and relationship to the One True God (Romans 4:3-8). Paul also declares that we are makarios to be in the Kingdom of God because we now are no longer at war with God (due to our sin) but we now through Christ Blood have made a peace treaty with Him (Romans 5:1 & John 14:27). Paul says we are makarios to be in the Kingdom of God because we are always joyfully delighted by continually being in union and fellowship with God the Holy Spirit who will never leave us or forsake us, who will help us and comfort us and will guide us into all truth (John 14:16-26).
Paul drawing on the experience of his own personal walk with our Lord Jesus Christ knows what is acceptable to our Lord and wants these men and women in Rome to so walk, live, and fellowship with one another that they have a stronger desire to not offend another’s conscience than they do of being offended by another. Paul knows that to be pleasing to our Lord Jesus we must make it our aim to follow after or do the things in the presence of other believers that will edify them and not weaken them in their faith, but always desiring to make another’s faith in Christ Jesus our Lord stronger by our words and our actions to them and around them. Paul had made this his aim from the day he was knocked off that horse on the road to Damascus and he affirmed that mind set by these words, Acts 24:14-16 “But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect I do serve the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets; having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. In view of this, I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men.” NKJV
Paul was ever aware of his responsibility to our Lord Jesus Christ by the way he lived every day in this world and he knew that our Lord was watching and listening to his every word, thought, and action and that he would certainly be held accountable before our Lord Jesus Christ at His Judgment seat as he declared with these words, 2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. KJV Therefore, everything we do we must be totally convinced in our own conscience (as Paul purposed himself to always be) that it is not and does not go against the will of God (His Word) and that it does not do harm or cause offense to another sister or brother Christ died for and weaken their faith in our Lord for to do so would be sinning against our Lord Jesus Christ.
“Take heed of acting contrary to the dictates of a doubting conscience. First be persuaded that what you do is lawful, before you venture to do it. In doubtful things, it is good keeping on the sure side of the hedge. If a weak Christian doubts whether it be lawful to eat flesh, while he remains under that doubt he had best forbear, till he be fully persuaded in his own mind. We must not pin our faith upon any one’s sleeve, nor make the practice of others our rule; but follow the dictates of our own understanding.” Matthew Henry
“To weaken the conscience of one of our Lord Jesus’ children in anyway is equal to driving another nail into His Hands or Feet and thrusting another sword into His Side, it hurts Him.” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…