Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding (Romans 14:13-19 ESV).
In our L3 reading this week, we came across these verses, which give us a clear baseline for how we are to regard our newfound freedom in Christ. Because the Law has been fulfilled in Christ, we have been "released" from it (Romans 7:6 ESV). As a result, we are free to do many things that we would not be able to do under the Law, because our righteousness no longer depends on our behavior, but rather on the finished and completed work of Christ on our behalf.
However, in Romans 14, Paul gives us a simple yet challenging guideline for dealing with this freedom: love. Rather than being bound by the Law, we are bound to one another in love. Christ demonstrated the ultimate love for us in the cross, and we are called to reciprocate that kind of love to each other, serving one another and considering others' needs before our own. Although we may have the right to do certain things, we should not use that freedom at the expense of others.
For example, some of us may not have a problem with consuming alcohol in moderation, while others of us may be prone to drunkenness and alcoholism. Are we demonstrating the love of Christ by tempting these weaker brothers and sisters to sin? Drinking alcohol in moderation is not sin, but if it comes at the expense of our brothers and sisters' well-being, we are abusing our freedom by causing others to stumble. We have thought of our own rights and freedom rather than others.
Paul's point is this: our first consideration ought to be love for each other. The questions we should be asking ourselves are: How can we better demonstrate the love of Christ for each other? How can we lay down our own rights and freedoms for the sake of others? How can we pursue peace in the body of Christ? How can we build the body of Christ by serving and giving rather than clinging to our own wants and desires?
Jesus laid down His own rights for us. Let us lay down our rights for the sake of our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ.
In the Son,
FBC Worship Arts Pastor
Fri, March 23, 2012
by Bill Horn filed under
- Bill Horn,
- In Christ,
- L3 Journal,
- Grow In Christ,