Lesson 50

The Epistle to the Romans

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

14:16 Then donít let your good be slandered, 14:17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. 14:18 For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men. 14:19 So then, let us follow after things which make for peace, and things whereby we may build one another up. 14:20 Donít overthrow Godís work for foodís sake. All things indeed are clean, however it is evil for that man who creates a stumbling block by eating. 14:21 It is good not to eat meat, drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles, is offended, or is made weak. 14:22 Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who doesnít judge himself in that which he approves. 14:23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because it isnít of faith; and whatever is not of faith is sin.

Today's Lesson 

In Today's Scripture Paul advances a basic principal. "Whatever is not of faith is sin." This principal could have been reasoned from what Paul has already revealed to us. We are saved by grace through faith. It is on the basis of faith that God grants His righteousness. We can reason from these things that whatever is not based on faith is sin, but Paul makes this principal explicit.


This has led Paul to mention again something that we have not discussed in these lessons so far. Paul writes, "But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because it isn't of faith." Paul has written similar things in this section before. If God leads us by faith, then He also checks our progress by doubts. God does not want us to proceed in areas where we still have significant doubts. God is patient with His creation. He will never move us beyond our faith, but He does ask us to be courageous in our faith. He wants to extend us beyond ourselves, but never beyond our faith.


If we understood this principal thoroughly we would feel much more comfortable in God's service. We often approach God as though He would keep pushing us further out on to the ledge until we would find ourselves on a dangerous precipice. But God is really leading us by faith. He wants us to learn to be confident in His leadership. He wants us to be bold in following His guidance. God does not lead us by uncertainty or doubts.


We can walk with certainty in the ways that God has revealed to us by faith. The kingdom of God is made up of "righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit." When we walk in these things, Paul declares that we will be acceptable to God and other men. We should follow after peace and build one another up. These are the things of faith. When we encourage one another to walk in the ways of faith we are doing the work of the Spirit of God.


But, when we are judgmental and cause stumbling blocks in the lives of other people, we are not walking by faith at all. The kingdom of God is about righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. It is not about my list of pet peeves or about what you may think is important. It is not about doing XYZ in a certain order. God wants us to follow His leading by faith. That means there will be times when we are not certain where God is leading. The "where" is not as important as the "how." God wants us to focus on following Him, not on where we are going.


Let us cling tightly to God and follow Him by faith wherever He leads us. Let us encourage one another to set aside doubts and arguments about unimportant things and the concentrate on the central beliefs of our faith. Christ is risen. He is alive and living in His church. Let us learn to walk by faith in His living presence within us and within others that are members of the body of Christ. That is the central message of the righteousness that comes through faith.


Are you ready to walk by faith in the things that God has made you sure of? Are you ready to courageously stand on the revelation God has placed in your heart?


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