Pondering Romans 14:13-23

Book-of-RomansYou can click HERE to read the passage.

This passage contains what is often referred to as “The Stumbling Block Principle.”  The principle goes like this: There are  things that some people consider to be “sinful” for themselves that God has not said is sinful. The believer who has liberty in this area should not do anything that would cause his fellow believer to stumble because of his own liberty. Let me give you a personal example.

According to Scripture, drinking alcohol is allowed by God. There are not prohibitions against it. There are, however, prohibitions against drunkenness. So Scripture would say, for example,  that if you want to enjoy a glass of wine you have freedom to do so – but don’t drink to the point of being drunk. More specifically, don’t drink to the point where the wine is in control and God’s Spirit is not. (See Ephesians 5:18).

I think that I would enjoy wine. I think it would be romantic to sit down with my wife over a nice meal and enjoy a glass of wine together. But as a pastor I choose not to drink at all because in our southern baptist Christian culture, drinking has often been looked on as “sinful.” It would be a “stumbling block” to some believers if they knew that I drank any kind of alcohol. Therefore, i choose not to because I do not want to lead others in to sin because of my liberty.

I do, however, have friends who are solid, God-fearing, gospel-loving believers who enjoy wine and/or beer. This is not at all a problem for me because as I read Scripture it is not problematic to God – as long as they are not drinking to drunkenness. So, whereas drinking would be sinful for me (because I would be a stumbling block to others) it may not be for you. If God has given you liberty in this area then, by faith, enjoy God’s gift to you. Note the last verse of this section and think on it…

“Everything that does not come from faith is sin.” 

Next Week’s Passage: Romans 15:1-6
Memory Verses: Romans 8:1–33

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