Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.
Romans 14 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. 2 One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. 3 The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. 4 Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
5 One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. 7 For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; 8 for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall give praise to God.” 12 So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.
13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way. 14 I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. 20 Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense. 21 It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles. 22 The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. 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.
In today’s text, Paul says: I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. He says: Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. In 1 Corinthians 6:12 Paul says: All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. There are many people who will take these verses out of context, as an argument for participating in sin. They will say that each person must be fully convinced in his own mind, means that we individually determine what is right. There is always a danger of error when people build doctrine around single verses or small portions of scripture. In both today’s text and in the 1 Corinthian text, Paul is speaking about food. In today’s text Paul says: The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 6:13, he says: Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. Just prior, in verses 9-11, he says: Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
In Matthew 15:10-20, Jesus also taught this same principle saying: “Hear and understand. It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.”… Peter said to Him, “Explain the parable to us.” Jesus said, “Are you still lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.” We should never presume on grace, believing that Jesus redeemed sin on the cross. Jesus redeemed and forgave and justified sinners. It is not sinful actions or activities that He justified. In Jeremiah 17:10 God says: "I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve." It is the hearts and the minds of people that Jesus redeems and changes; and a changed and redeemed heart and mind will result in changed conduct and deeds. The end result is that we don’t get what we deserved for our own deeds, but rather by grace our hearts are changed, to do the things of God, the good deeds He calls us to. Ephesians 2:8-10 says: By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. As Paul says: Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. It doesn’t matter what we were or what we did. What matters is that because of Him, we are changed.
Even though we no longer live under the law, but under grace, through the cross; it is vital that we know the truth about what scripture says. 2 Timothy 3:16 says: All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. We should follow doctrine that is based in all of scripture, not simply a few preferred verses. Jesus Himself says: “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-20) Many say that the Bible and its values and principles are outdated and need to be changed. Numbers 23:19 says: God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? God has not and will not change His mind about sin. What He said, He still says and what He promised He will do. God does not change His mind about sin, but He does, through the fulfilling work of Jesus Christ on the cross, change the hearts and minds of those who believe.
Heavenly Father thank You that You do not change. Your loving kindness is everlasting. Thank You for Your word, all scripture which is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. Thank You for the redeeming work of Jesus, Your Son, on the cross and thank You that You have given us the Holy Spirit, to be with us and in us, to teach us and guide us in Your truth. Thank You that You do not change, but You change us, conforming us into Your image, so that our hearts, our minds and our conduct are aligned with Your will. Amen.