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Romans 14:23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because [his eating is] not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.

< Romans 14:22
Romans 14:24 >

      23. And--rather, "But"
      he that doubteth is damned--On the word "damnation," see on Ro 13:2.
      if he eat, because he eateth not of faith--On the meaning of "faith" here, see on Ro 14:22.
      for whatsoever is not of faith is sin--a maxim of unspeakable importance in the Christian life.

      Note, (1) Some points in Christianity are unessential to Christian fellowship; so that though one may be in error upon them, he is not on that account to be excluded either from the communion of the Church or from the full confidence of those who have more light. This distinction between essential and non-essential truths is denied by some who affect more than ordinary zeal for the honor and truth of God. But they must settle the question with our apostle. (2) Acceptance with God is the only proper criterion of right to Christian fellowship. Whom God receives, men cannot lawfully reject (Ro 14:3, 4). (3) As there is much self-pleasing in setting up narrow standards of Christian fellowship, so one of the best preservatives against the temptation to do this will be found in the continual remembrance that CHRIST is the one Object for whom all Christians live, and to whom all Christians die; this will be such a living and exalted bond of union between the strong and the weak as will overshadow all their lesser differences and gradually absorb them (Ro 14:7-9). (4) The consideration of the common judgment-seat at which the strong and the weak shall stand together will be found another preservative against the unlovely disposition to sit in judgment one on another (Ro 14:10-12). (5) How brightly does the supreme Divinity of Christ shine out in this chapter! The exposition itself supersedes further illustration here. (6) Though forbearance be a great Christian duty, indifference to the distinction between truth and error is not thereby encouraged. The former is, by the tax, made an excuse for the latter. But our apostle, while teaching "the strong" to bear with "the weak," repeatedly intimates in this chapter where the truth really lay on the points in question, and takes care to call those who took the wrong side "the weak" (Ro 14:1, 2, 14). (7) With what holy jealousy ought the purity of the conscience to be guarded, since every deliberate violation of it is incipient perdition (Ro 14:15, 20)! Some, who seem to be more jealous for the honor of certain doctrines than for the souls of men, enervate this terrific truth by asking how it bears upon the "perseverance of the saints"; the advocates of that doctrine thinking it necessary to explain away what is meant by "destroying the work of God" (Ro 14:20), and "destroying him for whom Christ died" (Ro 14:15), for fear of the doctrinal consequences of taking it nakedly; while the opponents of that doctrine are ready to ask, How could the apostle have used such language if he had believed that such a catastrophe was impossible? The true answer to both lies in dismissing the question as impertinent. The apostle is enunciating a great and eternal principle in Christian Ethics--that the wilful violation of conscience contains within itself a seed of destruction; or, to express it otherwise, that the total destruction of the work of God in the renewed soul, and, consequently, the loss of that soul for eternity, needs only the carrying out to its full effect of such violation of the conscience. Whether such effects do take place, in point of fact, the apostle gives not the most distant hint here; and therefore that point must be settled elsewhere. But, beyond all doubt, as the position we have laid down is emphatically expressed by the apostle, so the interests of all who call themselves Christians require to be proclaimed and pressed on every suitable occasion. (8) Zeal for comparatively small points of truth is a poor substitute for the substantial and catholic and abiding realities of the Christian life (Ro 14:17, 18). (9) "Peace" among the followers of Christ is a blessing too precious to themselves, and, as a testimony to them that are without, too important, to be ruptured for trifles, even though some lesser truths be involved in these (Ro 14:19, 20). Nor are those truths themselves disparaged or endangered thereby, but the reverse. (10) Many things which are lawful are not expedient. In the use of any liberty, therefore, our question should be, not simply, Is this lawful? but even if so, Can it be used with safety to a brother's conscience?--How will it affect my brother's soul (Ro 14:21)? It is permitted to no Christian to say with Cain, "Am I my brother's keeper?" (Ge 4:9). (11) Whenever we are in doubt as to a point of duty--where abstinence is manifestly sinless, but compliance not clearly lawful--the safe course is ever to be preferred, for to do otherwise is itself sinful. (12) How exalted and beautiful is the Ethics of Christianity--by a few great principles teaching us how to steer our course amidst practical difficulties, with equal regard to Christian liberty, love, and confidence!

JFB.


Questions Related to this Verse

Where In Scripture Does It Talk About Charitableness?

Where in Scripture does it talk about the commandments of men?

Where In Scripture Does It Talk About Conscience?

Where In Scripture Does It Talk About Unbelief?

Where in scripture does it mention the punishment of the Wicked?

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Romans Images and Notes

The Book of Romans

Romans 1:20 - For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Romans 8:28 - And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.

Romans in The New Testament - A Brief Overview

Painting of the Apostle Paul by Rembrandt - 1657
Painting of Paul the Apostle by Rembrandt - 1657

Introduction to The Epistle to the Romans

Brief Summary. Paul's message in his profound epistle to the Romans 1-8 is that a man is justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law. Righteousness is by Christ alone, and when a man believes in Christ, he becomes dead to sin and the law and alive in Christ. The Holy Spirit sanctifies the believer and empowers him to live a holy life. A relationship with Christ brings adopted sonship and the assurance of salvation from sin. The question about the Jews and their fate is answered in Romans, they were chosen to possess the oracles of the Lord. Romans 9-11 reveals that the Jews failed to recognize Christ as the fulfillment of the Law and rejected their own Messiah. Therefore God rejected Israel, yet, this rejection is not total or final. Paul makes it abundantly clear that God will show mercy to those Jews who acknowledge Jesus as Lord. In Romans 12-16 Paul exhorts the Christians in Rome regarding the practical aspects of the new life in Christ.

Summary of The Book of Romans

Purpose. Paul was called by God to bring Christianity to the gentile world, and to establish churches for worship and ministry. Rome was the capital of the gentile world, and a church had developed there. Paul no doubt knew the strategic value of strengthening the body of believers by laying a strong doctrinal foundation. There is also indications that Paul had desired to preach the Gospel in Spain, and it would have been wise to create a solid base in Rome. Paul was continually challenged by the Jews regarding the Gospel of Christ and the Law of Moses. Paul obviously wanted to clear up any confusion by creating a strong doctrinal statement in his epistle. He addresses the same issues as in his other epistles, false doctrine, false teachers, and troublemakers who would stir up dissension in the church. In the epistle to the Romans Paul also introduces the deaconess Phoebe, he petitions the church at large to pray for the Roman brethren, and to greet the believers in Christ at the church in Rome.

Audience. The epistle begins with "to all God's beloved in Rome" and this would clearly indicate that Paul was addressing the Christian church in Rome. Throughout the book of Romans it is clear that in the church at Rome there were many Jews and gentiles.

Authorship. Paul the apostle is universally accepted as the author of the epistle to the Romans. Throughout the entire letter it is easy to see Paul's sincerity, his unique insights in the teachings about God, the Jews, Jesus and salvation to all mankind. Statements in the epistle indicate that Paul was going to Jerusalem with the collection for the poor which he had gathered (Romans 15:25-27).

Date. The epistle to the Romans appears to have been written near the end of Paul's third missionary journey, probably around 57 or 58 AD. One of the main reasons for this date is because 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians refer to this collection and this would indicate that Romans was written just after 1 and 2 Corinthians, toward the end of Paul's third missionary journey. Most scholars date the epistle near AD 58 and name Corinth as the city of its origin.

Outline of the Book of Romans

Doctrine and Theology - Chapters 1-8
God's Plan for Israel -  Chapters 9-11
The New Life in Christ - Chapters 12-16

Jesus written in Hebrew
The Name Jesus In Ancient Hebrew Text
"Yeshua" in First Century Hebrew Text. This is how the name "Jesus" would have been written in ancient Hebrew documents. The four letters or consonants from right to left are Yod, Shin, Vav, Ayin (Y, SH, OO, A). Jesus is the Greek name for the Hebrew name Joshua or Y'shua which means "The LORD or Yahweh is Salvation".

Interesting Notes

- Some ancient manuscripts omit the word, "Rome," scholars generally agree that the epistle was addressed to the Christian church in Rome.

Romans Resources

Map of the Roman Empire (14 AD) - This map reveals the Roman Empire during the time shortly after the birth of Jesus, in 14 AD at the time of the death of Augustus. The order which prevailed in this extensive empire, the good military roads, and the use of Koine Greek as the general language of culture throughout the area were among the factors which multiplied the rapid spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (Color Map)

Map of Paul's Third Missionary Journey (54 AD) - This map reveals the areas in Asia and Greece where Paul visited in his third missionary journey. On Paul's third missionary journey he returned to the cities he had first visited on his first missionary journey. During this time he decided to remain in Ephesus for about 3 years, and this city was the main focus of his activities and an important Christian community (Acts 19). (Color Map)

Map of Paul's Voyage to Rome (61 AD) - This map reveals the journey of the Apostle Paul to Rome in 61 AD. Paul had appealed to Caesar in Caesarea (Acts 24-25), his goal was to spread the Gospel of Jesus throughout the Roman Empire all the way to her great capital, Rome. He demanded that his case be heard by the Roman Emperor. According to the Book of Acts, after his shipwreck on the Island of Malta (Acts 28) he came to Italy and was put on house arrest for two years (Acts 28:30). (Color Map)

Map of the New Testament World - This map reveals the "Nations" within the ancient world during the first century A.D., the time of the New Testament. The map includes the areas of Israel, Asia, Greece, and Italy. (Color Map)

Map of New Testament Italy - This map reveals the cities within Italy during the first century A.D., the time of the New Testament. The map includes the principle cities of Italy like Neapolis and Rome. Follow the path of the Apostle.