Summary of Dr. Thomas L. Constable’s Notes on Romans p. 158-173

Nearing the end of the book of Romans, we find instruction concerning conduct within Christian liberty. It is noted that the 613 specific commands of the Mosaic Law no longer govern our conduct, but the principles that Jesus Christ and His apostles revealed do.

In 14:1-12 we see the folly of judging one another. This has to do with amoral practices. An amoral practice is neither right nor wrong in itself. It does not involve sin and, therefore, morality. There are those Christians, even today, that struggle with this concept. They think in terms of black and white and look at everything as either right or wrong. However, there are some things that are neither right nor wrong. Some examples may include: food, drink, television, recreation, personal grooming, education, etc. It should also be understood that there are actions that are right for some people but wrong for others. The point is that we should not stand in judgment over each other concerning these amoral issues. God is the judge. He knows if our motives or pure and whether or not we violate our conscience.

14:13-23 talks about the evil of offending one another. The welfare of a brother or sister in Christ should always take precedence over our liberty to do something amoral. It is important that we are careful to not offend our brothers and sisters in Christ and to not cause them to stumble or violate their conscience. It is best to refrain from that thing in which we have liberty, rather than causing a fellow believer to be offended and ultimately to stumble. We must also be careful that we are not puffed up with pride, thinking we are better than other believers because we have somehow achieved some greater freedom in Christ. Paul also instructs us to not force our convictions concerning amoral things on others. For example, if you have a conviction that it is wrong for you to go to a movie theater, then that is your personal conviction. However, the act of going to a movie theater is not sinful. Therefore, you should not push your personal conviction onto others. However, you should stand by your conviction and practice it. If you do something that you believe to be wrong, even though it is not wrong in itself, it becomes sin for you. Violating your personal conscience is sin.

In 15:1-6 we see the importance of pleasing one another. The point here is that we should put others first. We should apply the principle of love in every situation. We should not please others rather than God, but we should please others rather than ourselves. We should be more concerned for the building up of the body of Christ than we are about our Christian liberties. It should also be noted, that pushing your liberties onto others is not building up the body, rather, it divides and destroys the body. Unfortunately, there are many such practices taking place today. When we do not put others first, it hinders our worship and the unity of the church is at stake.

15:7-13 deals with the importance of accepting one another. We should accept each other no matter what our personal convictions concerning amoral issues may be. Sadly, the church is way too divided today over things that don’t matter. Amoral issues such as Bible versions, musical styles, dress codes, ministry methods, and many others are not causes for separation and division. It is inconsistent for a Christian to reject someone that God has accepted. We are fellow members of God’s family. Accepting one another glorifies God.

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