Romans 13 & 14
In our reading for today, Paul continued to address the people by laying out Godly principles for daily living. In Chap 13, Paul addressed the issue of following authority. He reminds the believers that government officials are in power only through the authority of God. Because of that reason, rebellion against governing authority is a rebellion against God himself. It is sometimes hard for us to accept people in power whether if it’s due to their beliefs, style or history. But the one thing we must always remember is that everything happens under God’s plan, for he is sovereign. Several times throughout the earlier books of the Old Testament, God allowed poor rulers and evil nations to consequence his people, in order to fulfill his plan. As believers we should be in constant prayer for our leaders that they are following the will of God. For when they stray away from His Truth, we stand up to voice his Word.
Moving into chapter 14, Paul took on the tough issue of criticism or judging others. In the passage he is not dealing with flagrant sin which of course should be dealt with; he instead, talked about behaviors that may sit contrary to other believers. Paul used the examples of eating various items and choosing a day to be more holy than the next. His statement to the believers was no matter what you do, it should be done to honor the Lord. Paul warned that all shall stand in judgment one day (Isa 45:23). Because of this, Paul’s gave a two part principle. First, each individual should judge themselves in order to be prepared to be accountable to God. Paul warned believers in (Rom. 12:3) about honest self-evaluation. The second part of the principle was for followers not to live their life in a way that may cause a (young/immature/weak) believer to stumble. In (1 Cor. 8: 9-13), Paul addressed this issue as well. He used the word “destroyed”(NLT) to symbolize the damage that could be done by believers living inconsistent lives. In our own time how many disputes breakout between members of the same congregation, different churches or different denominations. Maybe it’s because the music is to urban, or the preacher is not enough fire and brimstone or maybe it’s because the congregation is dressed in jeans. Regardless, we as followers of Christ need to scrutinize our own actions before criticizing others. We should be welcoming opportunities to build people up not tear them down.