February 19 - Romans 14:19-23

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Romans 14:19-23

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall. 

So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

As a result of all that he has taught, Paul asks his readers to make every effort to do what leads to peace. This isn't just hoping for peace or praying for peace, but it is an active participation in bringing about peace … and he doesn't stop there. He tells his readers to do what it takes to bring about mutual edification.

The word edification comes from the same root as edifice – a building. This word means – erecting a building, but in this sense, Paul uses it to mean building people up. This is very important to Paul. Of the 18 times it is used in the New Testament, Paul uses 15 of those. In 1 Corinthians 14:26, he says "let all things be done for edification."

The aim of all Christians is to help each other rather than to criticize each other … a trait which is difficult for most of us in today's culture. Criticism is seen as a right and of great necessity in teaching others how to act and live. Paul says that it is unimportant when compared to building each other up.

In other words, Paul reminds us that our beliefs on things such as eating and drinking and so many other unimportant beliefs that we carry are to be kept between us and God. We should be very wary of condemning ourselves by what we choose to approve and disapprove.

Our faith … that thing that binds us together with God in a relationship is what should guide our actions … anything that does not come from that is sin.