“If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord.” (v. 8)

Romans 14:1-12 Saturday 1 March 2014


From general ethicail exhortations, Paul turns to aspecific issue that is cuasing ripples at Rome - the conflictbetween Jewish and Gentile (non Jewish) Christ-followers. While thereferences to eating certain foods (verse 2) and judging one day tobe better than another (verse 5) might have more general reference,the overall context makes it likely that Paul has in mind Jewishfollowers of Christ. Just as Paul warned Gentile believers to avoidarrogance in Romans 11:17-18), here he issues a similarinstruction. We should not pass judgement on the servants ofanother, and issues around food and special days should not divideChristians.

Whatever positions Christians take on these issues, Paulencourages Christians to "honour the Lord" (v. 6) in the way thatthey live. If we are followers of Jesus, our lives belong to him.Jesus' death and resurrection not only save us from sin, but bringus under his rule (verses 7-9). Rather than focus on whether othersfollow Christ in just the way that we do, we need to be sure thatour own lives reflect our submission to Christ as king.

The final verses of this passage remind Christians that each ofus will give an account to God of the way we have lived (verses7-12). Believers are assured earlier by Paul that nothing canseparate them from God's love (Romans8:31-39), so the judgement Paul speaks of isn't about salvationbut accountability. If this is the case, we need to avoid arguingwith our brothers and sisters in Christ over issues that aretheologically indifferent, but should instead seek to love andrespect them. In verse 11 Paul quotes from Isaiah in support (Isaiah45:23), a passage that he applies to Jesus as the "Lord" beforewhom all will bow in praise. 

To Ponder

  • What are the issues over which Christians disagree today?
  • How might we help Christians reconcile over issues thatdivide?
  • How do we find ways of 'honouring' the Lord in every part oflife? 
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