In Romans 14, we are given much needed guidance on how to deal with others in the body who have different convictions on non-salvation issues. The subjects dealt with specifically were the keeping of the sabbath and the eating of meats. They may not be big deals for us today, but they were the hot topics of the day. Now I have not engaged in much conversation regarding God’s appointed day of the week. Nor have I gotten into a discussion about if the last steak that I bought was offered up to an idol. However, the principles of this chapter remain today, don’t they? Can a follower of a Jesus Christ drink a glass of wine? Should a follower of a Jesus Christ have cable TV? You know the deal.
Here is what Paul is saying. If you are fully persuaded in your own mind and conscience that what you are doing in right in the sight of God, it is okay. Of course that doesn’t mean that we can sin willfully against any direct commandments of God under the umbrella of being “saved by grace!”. Stealing is still sin. So is covetousness and sexual immorality. Paul is addressing things that we are at liberty, in Christ, to do. What he is saying here is that we are never at liberty to flaunt or live out our convictions in the face of someone that will be offended or stumbled because they hold different views. You do not offer a steak to a believer who is a vegetarian! You don’t surf through your 5,000 channels of cable TV with a brother who does not even own a TV. You don’t pour a glass of wine for someone who may be offended or stumbled by it. You’re missing the point if you try to “prove” from Scripture that you can do this or that. Knowledge puffs up and destroys, love edifies.
You see, love always puts others first for the sake of unity. Love always seeks to edify, and build up others. Love does not flaunt a liberty that will destroy or hinder another saint’s walk with Jesus. May The Lord give to us that spirit of love and sensitivity towards one another on “neutral” matters of our day. Love will always shelf their personal convictions for the benefit of others and for the glory and cause of Christ.