ROMANS:Road To Righteousness

Don’t Pass Judgments on People’s Opinions

Romans 14:1-12

Jerry A Collins




*               What does it mean to accept the weak in faith?

*               Who are the weak in faith and how are they to be accepted?

*               What role does the strong in faith have with weaker in faith?


This past week on c-span was a series of forums that discussed some of our founding fathers and the differences of opinions they had about when or if they should declare independence from England. Differences of opinion about what and what should not be written into that declaration of independence. And years later what should our constitution include. One historian said something that perked my interest. She said that differences between 2 of our founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson could be reviewed in letters each of them wrote to the president, George Washington in 1792. These letters would explain the core differences of opinion these men had—part of the same administration—that exist to this very day and were the beginnings of our two-party system in the US. So I ran down to our library and with some help now have those letters and also the letters Washington wrote to both of them later to beg for reconciliation and comraderie between them for the good of the country. It did not work. They remained bitter enemies until the untimely death of Hamilton. But what about us in the church? We come in to the body of Christ and we either bring with us strong opinions or over time develop deep convictions that differ from other believers. What are we to do? In Rome all kinds of people have come into the church with all kinds of ideas and tensions develop between converted Jews and Gentiles. In this passage tensions that revolve around diet (2) and days (5). But these opinions must not divide us. These are live issues and have potential to cause real divisions. How do we make room for all of this? How are we to related to others when we disagree? With our differing backgrounds, experiences and convictions how do we avoid downgrading one another? Should we wear designer clothes? Take expensive vacations? How we use our leisure time—cinema, watching certain kinds of movies? Our passage springs from Romans 13. 13:8 says let no debt remain but love compares to 14:14-23. 13:11 says we will all stand before judgment seat of Christ compares to 14:1-13. So here--be accepting of others because of the judgment to come. 3 reasons for this:


(1) Receive those who are weak in faith 1a. In the context this refers to believers whose faith not strong enough to allow them to exercise their complete liberty in Christ. To those who understood implications of this liberty, are commanded to accept or receive the weak—not keep them at arms length relationally. Who are the weak? Look at strong. He tells them to change, to accommodate the weak. Strong enough to accept a change in action and not offend. What is to be the manner of reception?

(2) They are not to judge them on their opinions including their thots, reasonings and motives 1b. They are to be welcomed as an equal but never with intent to try and change his convictions by quarreling with the weak about them. First, this is not forgetting differences in everything like theology. But disputable things. Non-essential things.  (3) An example of disagreement 2. The weak here are also people who have strength. In vs 2 they only eat vegetables. It takes a person of strong conviction and self-discipline to do that. In vs 3 they can have contempt for others shows they also have strong temperament. It is important to understand that not everyone in body of Christ will have your convictions. Here the vegetarian issue. One says we were not made to eat meat Gen 1. Other says no we can eat anything Gen 9. Yes but that was after the fall and clearly not God ideal. Yes but Jesus says in Mark 7 that no food is unclean. Yes but in millennium we will only eat vegetables. On it goes!

(4) It is so easy to write people off 3. The temptation to look down and feel superior—I know the Bible and I have freedom. Or weak having strict rules say they have no self-control. You will feel in whatever case that your opinion is correct. We must not write people off even tho strongly tempted to do so because—God has accepted them 3c! Whos church is it anyway? She belong to JC. If other believers have differing opinions than yours then (1) accept them (2) accept them without judging. It is easy to look like you have done this. But you would never encourage them to have a ministry. They might teach that stuff. Or you mite  accept them only so you can help them change their opinion. (5) The reason you are not to judge him is because you are not his master vs 4. We are only accountable to the Lord. Jesus life was so impacting because He only had one person to please. He was accountable to His father and he would stand or fall be approved or not based on that standard. (6) Another example of disagreement vs 5. Here it is days. Could be Sabbath/Sunday but may include other holy days like good Friday today. Again which position held is irrelevant. The point is being fully convinced in your own mind that this is what you must do.


(1) Your convictions are for the Lord 6. Not for salvation or for personal gain. 3 times ‘for the Lord’. We may have differing conclusions about what something means in practice but I observe it, I do it, I live it before the Lord. I recognize I am accountable to God for this. And both are able to give thanks to God. Good test!

(2) Know you are accountable to God not other xians vs 7-8. Both in life and death. Our individual accountability to God must be paramount as we live out our convictions because we belong to the Lord. Indeed, as the one resurrected, He is the Lord and there is no other. We answer only to Him vs 9. You must be a thinking person here. What you are doing or not doing you decide for the Lord and that’s it. He is the judge and that is true for both the weak and the strong.


(1) One xian is not above another 10. Twice ‘brother’ is mentioned. We are related to one another. This is family business. Why passing judgment? Why showing contempt? We will never judge one another only Christ will! All of us will stand at Christ’s tribunal. Make room for one another.

(2) Everyone will bow in judgment before God 11. Xians at judgment seat. Unbelievers at GWT. Isa 49:18 & 45:23 affirm this. There is no escaping this. Inevitable. Sure.

(3) We all have the personal responsibility to give an account of ourselves including our convictions to Christ. We will not answer for our fellow xians but our own deeds.

So how do you know if you are strong? (1) Know rite & wrong spelled out in NT. (2) Have personal preferences not stated in NT—diet & days. (3) Then area between where we don’t agree. So ask ?’s

A. Is it stated in the NT or is it an opinion?

B. Is the issue a thing like food, drink, car drive? If so its not unclean by itself.

C. Is it about what you think it will lead to? We must all present evidence and make our own case.

D. Is it a matter of different interpretation of the Bible? Then we have to embrace each others views.

E. Is the real issue love for my Bro or sis? Is this what is their best good.

PT—Do not condemn or criticize believers for behavior not condemned in the NT.