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Romans 14:1-12

Living Practical Faith

  • Jean Marais
  • Sunday Night Messages
  • April 21, 2024

Romans 14 continues the practical principles of living the life of faith. We have seen that the heart of the one living by faith and wanting to honor God is the heart that is humble knowing that we all make mistakes and no one is perfect. We all live dependent on the grace of God. Because of this, we live with a heart that ‘love thy neighbor’, and we saw in the last chapter that that is the whole fulfillment of the law. This is what Paul is continuing with in this section. It is a great chapter speaking of everyday practical faith.


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Living Practical Faith
Romans 14:1-12
April 21, 2024

      As we get back to our study in the book of Romans, let’s remember where we left off. These last few chapters are the practical living of a principle we learned in the first verses of chapter 12. “I implore you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies to God as a living and holy sacrifice… And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” Paul wrote.

      This continues the practical principles of living the life of faith. We have seen that the heart of the one living by faith and wanting to honor God is the heart that is humble knowing that we all make mistakes and no one is perfect.

     We all live dependent on the grace of God. Because of this, we live with a heart that ‘love thy neighbor’, and we saw in the last chapter that that is the whole fulfillment of the law. This is what Paul is continuing with in this section. It is a great chapter speaking of everyday practical faith.

      When you came to Christ, you came out of the world, but you brought a lot of the world with you and that’s what God wants to transform. A lot of our thinking is off-base and worldly; we need to change how we think so as to have godly judgment.

      The best way to have godly and sound judgment is to have something to measure yourself against.

      Peter speaks of Christ being our cornerstone.  A cornerstone is the first stone that is laid out. Everything is aligned and angled to it. And everything we build from there needs to be aligned with the cornerstone.

      When you align and measure your life against Christ, you’ll see that there’s much in your life that is off base.

      When we are transformed by the renewing of our mind there is something beautiful and honorable and that comes from building your life straight and true.

      The theme for the entire chapter actually comes from the last verse, “Whatever is not from faith is sin.”  

      Whatever is built by self-righteousness and works, instead of placing our faith in the transforming finished work of God done by His Spirit in our lives, is very dangerous as we will see that it can cultivate a heart that can be judgmental towards our brothers. The root of this is pride which God hates.

      In this section, Paul gives practical direction on living by faith and guarding against the wrong heart.

I. Apply Faith to Everyday Life

  • Romans 14 is one of the best chapters in the Bible to show the day-to-day living out of faith.
  • We need to apply faith to whatever we do. Every aspect of life. How we live and what we do is important to the Lord. Paul uses some examples in this passage. He writes in verse 2 that it even applies to what we eat.
  • How do you live out your faith in everyday living? Even the most mundane thing? By living before the Lord. Realizing and being aware that God is with you and in you 24/7/365, to infinity. In other words, you’re aware of His presence in everything you do.
  • It asks for a change of perspective.

A. Live to please the Lord

  • When you want to align your life with Christ as the cornerstone, allowing Him to transform your mind and rebuild your life straight and true, it is pleasing to the Lord.

Hebrews 11:6, Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

  • This shows us the significance of faith. Living a life seeking God, and working it out through faith brings God’s blessing.
  • For what pleases God is the best for you, because He wants the best for you.

Illus – Imagine there is a beat-up, run-down car that a person buys and wants to lovingly restore.

2 Corinthians 5:7, 9, For we walk by faith, not by sight… Therefore we also have as our ambition to be pleasing to Him.

  • The ambition this verse speaks of is the best type of ambition one could have. Ambition to please the Lord. Any other ambition driven for selfish gain will lead to much heartache.

Colossians 1:10, Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God…

  • When you walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, it becomes a testimony to those around you. It becomes the fruit that you bear that others can eat of, grow, and find hope.
  • When you live to please the Lord, it is the way of greatest blessing. To be blessed by God is the greatest life you can live.
  • King Hezekiah is an example of living before the Lord with all your heart with God’s blessing on it.

2 Chronicles 31:20-21, Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah; he did what was good, right, and true before the Lord his God. Every work which he began in the service of the house of God in law and in commandment, seeking his God, he did with all his heart and he prospered.

  • Hezekiah was seeking God with all his heart. Many people reluctantly live for God, and reluctantly do the right thing. They do not understand. Hezekiah understood. He wanted to do everything with a heart seeking God, because it was also the best for him.

B. Whatever is not from faith is sin

  • Paul makes another important point in this chapter that we need to understand so we can apply it…

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

  • This is a great principle to guide your understanding of what is or is not sin.
  • Here’s another principle that goes right along with it…

1 Corinthians 10:31, Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Romans 3:23, For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…

  • When you live for the glory of God, you believe, by faith, that your actions, your words, and your life give God glory.
  • In other words, your heart’s desire is that every interaction with people, everything you do, every endeavor you start, will glorify God and end in the glory of God, aligned with His heart and His word.

Illus – It must be aligned with God’s word. You cannot, for example, steal from someone and say I will give some of the money to the church. The end cannot justify crooked means.

C. Beware the righteous high hill

  • Paul points out that there is a danger, however, in comparing your life to others and believing that for whatever reason, you are giving more glory to God and therefore are better than others.

1 Corinthians 10:12, Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. 

  • Oftentimes, what creates the difficulty is when someone is convinced they have a righteous high hill, and because they believe they are right, they become argumentative, divisive, and unloving. There is an attitude of ‘I am better at this faith thing than you.’
  •  The problem with high hills is when a person feels their position is so correct it gives them the right to look down on others.
  • This is about loving your neighbor. When Christ becomes your example, one of the things that God transforms is how we relate to people around us.
  • We all have differences. But can we resolve it respectfully?
  • Love should be our guide. Love the Lord, and love your neighbor as yourself.
  • Pride, a high hill, never works. It leaves a bad taste. You might win the battle, but you will lose the war. And our war is not against the hearts of people but for the hearts of people.
  • Here in chapter 14, Paul is saying that we need to have more grace and not pass judgment on how other people live out their faith.
  • We should respect each other and not pass judgment. All we do should be from love and wanting to build up our fellow believers. I can try and bring you the good news of freedom, but I cannot judge you. I am not your judge. There is only one eternal Judge.
  • Our convictions are to be personal. There are areas where scripture does not give us a precise definite teaching and so there is freedom to have your own convictions.

Illus – Let’s take COVID-19 vaccines, for instance…

  • Of course there are also areas in which scripture is quite straightforward, but that’s different.
  • Remember this section is not about condoning people to live sinfully, offering up their bodies to sin. Romans 12 started with the exhortation to present their bodies as a living sacrifice.
  • Remember that this is about receiving the brother who is still weak, young in faith. As their knowledge of God grows, their faith grows into godly freedom.

II. Live for the Lord

  • That’s the point Paul is making in verses 7-8. Don’t live for yourself; live for the Lord.
  • If you are living for the Lord, then live by faith.

Galatians 2:20-21, I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

A. Be convinced by faith

  • There are many, many areas where we have to decide how we are going to live.
  • In other words, I have faith that this glorifies God. This honors Him. If people see this, will they say, Glory to God?

Illus – This becomes an amazing measure to measure everything you do. What do you eat and drink? How do you spend your time? What do you watch? What video games do you play? How do you dress? How do you do sport? How do you act towards your wife, or husband, your family? How do you drive? How do you greet your friends? How do you greet your enemies? What do you do with your money? Is it for evil or for good?

  • Paul gives us two principles to guide our understanding. First, let each person be convinced by faith. Whatever it is… Can you do it by faith? In other words, can you do it before the Lord?

1 Thessalonians 1:5, “For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; 

  • Paul brings up keeping one day above another. On what day are we to worship the Lord? Saturday or Sunday? Some people have very strong feelings. Fortunately, we have services on both Saturday and Sunday.
  • We can easily get lost in the weeds. Hebrews tells us that we are now living in the Sabbath rest in Christ. Every day should be lived set apart for the Lord. Religion wants to fight over the day.
  • Second, don’t pass judgment if someone has a different opinion.
  • Verse 4 – Who are you to judge the servant of another? In other words, I’m not your master and you’re not my master, the Lord is Master to us all.

B. When in doubt, don’t

  • If you’re not sure you can do something “as unto the Lord,” then don’t do it. Verse 23 – “But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith…”

Illus – Let’s imagine for a moment that we are in Paul’s time. Some Jew that has been taught his whole life that he is not allowed to eat anything unclean, comes to faith in Christ. One day, some of the more mature believers get together and they eat pork. Peter has told them about God’s revelation, they have been sitting under Paul’s teaching that said everything is made by God and made holy if it is blessed. They heard Jesus say that it is not what goes into the mouth that makes you unclean, but what comes out. They are eating pork with full assurance of faith. The new believer has not heard this yet. He reluctantly eats some pork, but deep down he feels he is dishonoring God by doing it. It brings him under condemnation as he feels he has done wrong. He has not done it by faith. He sees it as a sin. One day he comes he hears the truth. He is set free from his old mindset. He thanks God for His amazing grace and the freedom to eat. Then he eats pork with full conviction, and it is not a sin.

  • It is all about love for your brother. We are here to exhort, lift up, build up help, not break down and judge.

C. We must each give an account of our lives

  • Passing judgment brings division. This is about loving your neighbor which is extremely important to God.
  • In other words, this is not just about whether you have well-reasoned, godly convictions that guide your thoughts, words, and actions, it’s about how you respond to others that have different convictions than your own.

Illus – Let’s say, fro the previous illustration, that the more ‘mature’ Christians would start teasing him about not eating pork, judging him that he is under the law and that he is a weak believer. That would be sinful and prideful.

  • If you pass judgment and regard your brother with contempt, then you might need a few more principles to help guide your life.
  • One of those principles is that we will all stand and give an account of our own lives.

2 Corinthians 5:10, For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

  • In other words, it’s not just between us, it’s between us and the Lord. That is the greatest principle of all.
  • God is actively part of our lives. We cannot one day say, but God did you see what, Suzy did, or John did, or Mary did. God will ask, what did you do?
  • This judgment is not about entering eternal life or not. This is about what you kept yourself busy with. Was your works of wood and hay, or silver and gold?
  • Was the time you spent worthless, judging others, making no impact, living for your own gain, entertainment, or were you busy with God’s heart? Were you loving, uplifting, and supporting?
  • This does not mean that we should do nothing except come to church and do bible study. But whatever you do, do it for the glory of God. When you eat with friends, let your life reflect glory. When you go to a ball game, let your life reflect glory.
  • When you measure your life against Christ, you realize that every principle, every conviction, and every decision is made because of our relationship with God.
  • In other words, it is a practical faith living, driven by love and God’s heart, directed by the Spirit of Christ.

Romans 14:1-12    NASB 

1Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. 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. 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. 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. For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; 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. 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 Lordevery 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.


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