Romans 14:1-23 …helping the new believer
14 Him that is weak (new and unsure) in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. (be welcoming to his presence and not his theology)
2 For one believeth that he may eat all things (all the things he knows to be food according to the Torah, Paul has already admitted in prior chapters that he was a “Jew” that has not broken the Torah): another, who is weak (new and unsure), eateth herbs.(vegetables)
3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
(below see 1 Corinthians 8:1-13 Food Offered to Idols as this was forbidden by the Pharisees)
1 Corinthians 8:1-13 Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. 2 If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. 3 But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.
4 Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.” 5 For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”— 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
7 However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8 Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. 9 But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? 11 And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. 12 Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.
4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. (This verse is not concerning Sabbaths or “holidays” , we have to see this in context of the verses which all concern food.)
6 He that regardeth the day (for fasting), regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day (of fasting), to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
The Jews had a very dedicated structure of fasting and the Torah does not specify which day we are to fast, only that it is good for us to practice. The rabbinical rules (made to make them look good to the people – holier than thou) made a specific day and to heighten the public awareness they paraded through town for all to see.
Jesus addresses this in Matthew 6:16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.”
Ezra 8:23 “So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was entreated of us.”
Matthew 4:2 “And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.”
Acts 13:3 “And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.” We can see fasting is happening before, during, and after the life of Yeshua)
7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.
8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.
9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
13 Let us not therefore judge one another anymore: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.
Paul is pointing out how critical the scribes and Pharisees have become on the act of fasting and how it interferes with the proper education of the converts to Christ.
14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
Those things that God said was good for food in the Torah are forever clean. The issue at hand was buying food in the marketplace and the uncertainty of it having been “cooked” while in the act of a sacrifice to a false god. Paul is telling them that since it is a false god it has no power and therefore they are just buying meat that YHWH has already said to be clean.
15 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.
16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of:
17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink (fasting); but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
20 For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.
Food that has been sacrificed to idols has no effect on those that are in the faith as long as we do not accept the idol worship. Idols have no power over affirmed believers as it is just food nothing more.
21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
If a person new to the faith would be tempted to go back to idol worship and the accompanying traditions by your eating foods that were sacrificed to idols then subsequently sold in the marketplace, then we need to be sensitive to their weakness when sitting at a meal with them.
22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.
23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.