God’s Saving Word: Spiritual Renewal
Romans 14:13-23: Today’s reading continues the apostle Paul’s plea to the believers in Rome that they need to avoid judging others and not act in ways that may cause others to stumble and fall into sin. Their lives are to be guided by the righteousness, peace, and joy which the Holy Spirit gives.
Do Not Make Others Fall
13 So then, let us stop judging one another. Instead, you should decide never to do anything that would make others stumble or fall into sin. 14 My union with the Lord Jesus makes me certain that no food is of itself ritually unclean; but if you believe that some food is unclean, then it becomes unclean for you. 15 If you hurt others because of something you eat, then you are no longer acting from love. Do not let the food that you eat ruin the person for whom Christ died! 16 Do not let what you regard as good get a bad name. 17 For God’s Kingdom is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of the righteousness, peace, and joy which the Holy Spirit gives. 18 And when you serve Christ in this way, you please God and are approved by others.
19 So then, we must always aim[a] at those things that bring peace and that help strengthen one another. 20 Do not, because of food, destroy what God has done. All foods may be eaten, but it is wrong to eat anything that will cause someone else to fall into sin. 21 The right thing to do is to keep from eating meat, drinking wine, or doing anything else that will make other believers fall. 22 Keep what you believe about this matter, then, between yourself and God. Happy are those who do not feel guilty when they do something they judge is right! 23 But if they have doubts about what they eat, God condemns them when they eat it, because their action is not based on faith. And anything that is not based on faith is sin.
Today’s Key Verse: Romans 14:17
For God’s Kingdom is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of the righteousness, peace, and joy which the Holy Spirit gives.
Reread verses 17-19. In what ways are believers to serve Christ? In what ways does your community of faith reflect “the righteousness, peace, and joy which the Holy Spirit gives?” In what ways will you bring peace and strengthen someone today? What are your thoughts about Paul’s words in verse 23 that “anything that is not based on faith is sin?”
Almighty God, help me to avoid acting in a way that may cause someone to stumble and fall into sin. May the righteousness, peace, and joy which the Holy Spirit gives guide my every thought and action this day. Amen.
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Psalm 32: A prayer of confession.