The Law of Love

I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let your good 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 serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.

19 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. 21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. 22 Do you have faith? Have it to yourself 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 he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin. — Romans 14:14-23.

Another cardinal principle of Christian living is not to do anything that will cause a Christian brother to stumble or fall. Thus, for example, eating certain food that he may regard as unclean may cause him to fall even though another Christian feels he can eat that food. It is best if that other Christian does not eat that food for the sake of that weaker brother. Other people’s consciences and welfare are to come before our preferences, bearing in mind that the kingdom of God is to do with peace and joy in the Holy Spirit and in serving Christ. It is not a matter of what we eat or drink.

With the aim of edifying one another in the Lord, and giving no unnecessary offence to a weaker brother, we should pursue things that make for peace.

It is good to have a clear conscience ourselves before God, but if what we are about to do is something about which we have any doubt, either for ourselves or about making another stumble, we would be better not to do it. ‘If in doubt, don’t!’ is a good guide for conduct in non-essential matters and in matters that can cause others to stumble. [The Bible Panorama.]

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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