Different conscientious decisions must not be condemnedRo 14:1The gospel dispenses believers from all prohibitions concerning food. Those who are strong in faith realise this, and joyfully accept this liberty. Yet others are hindered from accepting this, on account of scruples about food inherited from their past life. Paul asks those with a clearer grasp of the gospel to respect anyone whose “faith is weak”, so that, in their own time, they may come to share the fulness of the liberty of the children of God. See alsoRo 14:10,13; 1Co 10:29-30
God accepts and supports people who reach different conscientious decisionsRo 14:3-4
God alone must judge whether decisions of the conscience are right or wrongRo 14:12-13See alsoCol 2:16
Restraint of freedom for the sake of another1Co 8:9“The weak” are Christians who have yet to grasp the full implications of the gospel. At this stage, they are likely to be scandalised by the full public exercise of Christian freedom on the part of those who are more mature in their faith. Paul’s advice is to respect the sensitivities of the weak, and wait for these fellow believers to become spiritually mature. Paul is not suggesting that Christians should cease to exercise the liberty of faith. Rather, he is asking for pastoral sensitivity. See alsoRo 14:15,19-21; Ro 15:1-3; 1Co 8:10-13; 1Co 10:27-29
Dictionary of Bible Themes Scripture index copyright Martin H. Manser, 2009. As Editor, Martin Manser wishes to thank all those who compiled or edited the NIV Thematic Study Bible, on which this work is based.
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