NOT ABOUT COFFEE AND DOUGHNUTS
Our series “Received Righteousness” following the book of Romans continues. We enter into the second “half” of Romans with chapter 12. It begins with the beautiful phrase: in view of God’s mercy… The previous chapters have made clear the core message of the gospel. God’s mercy has been put on full display. Now the emphasis shifts to our response. In view of God’s mercy how shall we then live? In Romans 12 we have described new kingdom ways in which we are to relate to God, friends and enemies. In chapter 13 how we are to relate to governing authorities is the focus. Now in chapter 14 we see how relationships should work among fellow believers, between the weak and the strong. The weaker ones in the church are those who are the most fervent and diligent in trying to please Christ. The strong are those whose consciences allow them to behave as they chose in certain disputable areas of life. Does Paul have his wires crossed here in who he is calling the weak and the strong? Not when we understand what living in view of God’s mercy really means. The weak believers have a weaker grasp of the gospel of grace and can tend towards legalism. The strong believers have a firmer grasp on the gospel of grace. The disputable areas that Romans 14 touches on are eating meat and the kosher diet along with observing special days and the church calendar. These are still disputable areas today, but we have many more: mode of baptism, alcohol use, worship music and styles to name a few. On some issues I would be counted with the weak and on some issues I would be counted with the strong. The point is whether weak or strong that we strive for unity and to build one another up in the Lord. NIV Romans 14:17… For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.