February 18 - Romans 14:12-18

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Romans 14:12-18 – Do Not Cause Others to Stumble

So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. 

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

Paul either ends the previous passage or begins the next passage by saying, "So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God" (Romans 14:12).

Each word in that sentence is important. So then … Paul is about to deliver the logical conclusion or introduction.  Each … no one is exempt from this. Of us … Paul makes it personal. This isn't about anyone other than us – you and me. Will give an account … This is similar to a financial record. There are marks in columns regarding our actions and no leeway given for despising or judging anyone else.

We must cease to cast judgment on anyone else for their actions. We will be called to give an account of ourselves – not them, not what they have or haven't done – to God. That's it. Nothing else.

Paul reiterates that we aren't to put up a stumbling block for someone else to come to Jesus. Nothing is unclean, he says … unless it is an issue for that person. The moment we become a stumbling block, we set ourselves up to be judged by God.  If a person is an alcoholic and you drink with them and this upsets them … you are not acting in love.

And for Paul, everything is unimportant … except for love. The kingdom of God isn't about unimportant matter – how someone votes, how someone pays their bills (or doesn't), how someone is educated (or not), what type of job they work (or don't), what music they listen to or books they read, what they wear or how they pierce their body or tattoo their skin. These things are so much less important than love. When we stop to consider that God expects us to consistently show love, no matter what … that changes everything.

The kingdom of God is not about unimportant things. The kingdom of God is about righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.