Monday after the Sixth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Romans 14:1—15:3 (NKJV)
14:1 Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. 2 For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. 3 Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. 4 Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.
5 One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written:
“As I live, says the LORD, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”
12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.
13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way. 14 I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.
19 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. 21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.
22 Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. 23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.
15:1 We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. 3 For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.”
“Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls”
Unrepentant people are often quick to cite the words “judge not” in the hopes of excusing their behavior. St. Paul gives very helpful instruction about not judging, but those who would justify themselves are a lot less likely to refer to his words.
St. Paul is teaching the same idea that our Lord gives us in His instruction. Paul makes it clear that the judgments of one sinful man against another have little value, yet at the same time we are still subject to the judgment of our Master. It is not that we are never to be judged for our wickedness, but we are to remember that the Lord judges us according to His holy wisdom. However, with His righteous judgment also comes His divine desire to save us from that sin.
We all stand judged guilty on account of our sins. Out of love our brothers and sisters in the faith can admonish us for our offenses, or others can try to beat us and manipulate us with our offenses. Our true Master calls us to repent, and to believe and remember that those sins are forgiven in the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. He edifies us and makes us able to walk in righteous faith and true works of love.
We pray: Lord of all power and might, who art the Author and Giver of all good things, graft in our hearts the love of Thy name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of Thy great mercy keep us in the same; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.