Romans 14:5 “Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind.”

Observation: In Romans 14, Paul focused on the importance of not judging one another in areas of permissible freedom, but to encourage one another in the faith. He said that heaven is far greater than a mere collection of detailed laws, “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (v. 17). In fact, in verse 4 he issued a clarion call to cover with grace those areas of life in which we may differ in our views. “Who are you to judge the servant of another?” he asked. “To his own master he stands or falls.”

Application: Is there something about the faith that is greater than successful rule keeping, for example, something more important about observing the Sabbath than simply doing it on the “right” day of the week? Of course there is. The Sabbath’s intent was to create a focused time of refreshing and renewal in our relationship with the Lord. Paul said that one person might regard one day above another, while the next person regards every day alike (v. 5), but each, he said, takes his position for love of God. Similarly, he persuasively claimed there is something more important than whether we eat, or refrain from eating, certain foods. Paul declared nothing to be unclean (v. 14) but that if someone believes a thing to be unclean, then to him it is.

It seems that Paul has a high degree of confidence in God’s ability to sort through the rules by which I live and look at my heart attitudes. I will receive an abundance of grace regarding my internalized rules, and I will be judged ultimately on the set of my heart as I embrace those rules. Rules that are set and applied to others as a means of trapping them as they fall short can be far different than parameters I choose to follow myself in pursuit of devotion to Him. 

Do I look for ways to trip up another because he transgresses boundaries I am comfortable with, or do I celebrate the great areas of freedom in which each of us pursues God as wholeheartedly as we know how? I have remarkable freedom in the very Christ who said He came to fulfill, rather than destroy, the Law. If He can extend such grace to me, surely I can do no less for those around me who love God in ways passionate yet different from mine.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I remember the phrase that it was for freedom that You have set us free. Thank You for the abundance of grace You have extended to me. In all my immaturity and stumbling, You have seen a heart devoted to You. Thank You for all You do to clear away fog and confusion, to shine the bright light of Your love on my heart.