Romans 14:14-23 Unclean Food & The law of Love

Having warned believers to leave revenge to God, Paul now addresses food and sin among Christians. No longer bound to the law of Moses, children of God are encouraged to abide by the law of Christ pertaining to food and sin.

While the Jewish law commanded its followers to abide by a strict set of rules, the law of Christ which is based on love rather than righteousness calls on believers to eat and act in ways glorifying to God.

14 As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean.” (Romans 14:14)

The apostle Paul uses the Greek term “koinos” which means “common or defiled” to describe foods forbidden in the Jewish law. Essentially Paul calls on believers to refrain from foods, and more importantly from anything we now to be wrong, to be defiled. Any such things are not only in contradiction with the law of Jesus, they are sin.

15 If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died.” (Romans 14:15)

As we mature in our faith we are reminded of our mission to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ. Believers should not offend other by eating foods deemed unclean rather we should abide by the laws and customs of the land as we minister to those who will listen.

16 Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.” (Romans 14:16-18)

Paul calls on believers to bring glory to God through righteousness, peace and joy. We are also to passionately advance the gospel by our actions and the words we choose as we offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God almighty.

19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” (Romans 14:19)

Bringing each other up and provoking one another in love, believers are called to make every effort to edify each other from the Greek “oikodomē” which translates to “build up.” This mutual edification is God’s church, the body of Christ on earth.

20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.” (Romans 14:20-21)

Paul declares all food clean and calls on believers to refrain from throwing away God’s work in us through food, that is we are not to offend by eating things unclean to others while in their presence as we strive toward unity and mutual edification.

22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves.” (Romans 14:22)

Believers should keep their opinions about unclean foods to ourselves as we pray to God about these cultural differences rather than approve or disapprove of them, leaving judgment up to the Lord. By doing so we invite God’s blessings in our lives.

23 But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.” (Romans 14:23)

Spelling out a clear message to be embraced by all Christians, Paul declares all things that do not come from faith as sin. Believers are called to do right understanding anything we know is not right will be punished in this life or the next.

Food may not play as much a vital role as it once did among the Jews however it continues to be a reflection of people’s faith. As such we should make every effort to not offend anyone through food, through our actions and words.

Actions can speak louder than words therefore believers should not only act in ways glorifying to God but also speak according to the law of Christ which calls on us to love others as we do ourselves. Let us pray!

Father God;
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Paul,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.

Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.

God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.

May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.

We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.

Praise God,
Amen!

This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre
Email: DanielStPierre@ThriveThroughChrist.com

Posted in Bible Studies.