Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Christian and His Liberty: Christian Liberty and Charity (Part II)

I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.” (Romans 14:14-15)

The verbs I know and am persuaded are in the perfect tense, the strongest of biblical Greek. In Christ, Paul has come to a conclusion concerning this subject of meats, and his conclusion is unalterable. His conclusion is that no food is unholy in and of itself. For the purposes of conveying spiritual lessons, God labeled certain foods as unclean for the Jewish people; however, these foods are not evil in and of themselves, because “...every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer (I Timothy 4:4-5).”

The word esteemeth is the same word translated impute, reckon, and account in chapter four. It means to log down. The man who is convinced in his soul that eating a particular food is evil because of its associations can no longer eat that food without compromising God's holiness in his motives.

Charity is constructive, not destructive. Even though the meat is legitimate, how is it affecting the brother? Is it a spiritual roadblock to him? If the answer is Yes, then this liberty must be set aside for the higher calling of charity. Concerning this matter, Paul said, “Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend (I Corinthians 8:13).” Is a dietary privilege more valuable than a brother's soul? Certainly not. This type of thinking goes against the grain of human nature, because it encourages each believer to have a servant's heart toward others. Human pride despises such a concept.

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