Romans 14:1-3 – As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.
As we come to Romans 14, I find this part of the passage rather humorous. Paul says, “the weak person eats only vegetables”. He’s not saying we don’t love vegetarians; he’s just saying we don’t understand them. We do appreciate, however, that they allow us to have a second helping of ribs at a barbeque by enjoying theirs for them.
Here’s the big idea: If God loves and welcomes someone, we need to love and welcome them too, even if they do things differently than we would.
In the New Testament, the first believers were largely Jewish. Jesus Himself was Jewish. And Jewish people had their ways of doing things – holidays, dietary laws and Sabbath on Saturday.
All of a sudden, a bunch of non-Jewish Gentiles become Christians and they show up at church. And the debate is what are God’s laws and what are our “opinions”?
The Gentiles walk in and they’re eating pork ribs and the Jews are like “You can’t do that!” and they say “Actually, you can and they are delicious!” Then the Jewish people say “Ok, everyone needs to get circumcised” and the Gentiles are like “Nope, nope, absolutely not, nope.”
So, they have these debates and discussions, and the question is how do believers live in unity despite their diversity? Much of the New Testament, including Romans, sorts out these types of issues.
We still deal with this in our day. Different churches, that all believe the Bible, do things differently. How do you baptize people? How do you school your kids? How do you do communion? These are not important enough issues to divide God’s people over, so we must learn to live together in unity because the most important commonality is that we all love Jesus. Since Christians are going to be together forever, we should start getting along today.
What are some issues you’ve seen churches divide over or that you’ve felt are of utmost importance for a church you’ve attended? Pray for God to open your heart to live amongst other Christians in unity despite your differences.
To find the free Romans 12-16 digital study guide for individuals and small groups, hear Pastor Mark’s entire sermon series on Romans, or find a free mountain of Bible teaching visit realfaith.com or download the Real Faith app.