One Man Eats Vegetables and Another One Doesn't
Oct. 21, 2014
As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. 2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. Romans 14
There are many questions that arise from time to time amongst believers. There are issues about what day is the Sabbath, whether to eat pork or not, and a whole host of other issues and concerns. The verses above I believe, address some of these concerns for it brings forth the resolution that each person should follow his or her conscience in the matter. It's a matter of giving honor to God whether you eat or don’t eat.
I believe that some people put demands on others without even being aware of this. Some have been convinced while they gather together that all must fast in order for them to hear from the Lord and to purify one's self. These are good things to do and they are profitable spiritually and actually even good for one’s self physically if they are followed realistically. But expecting all to follow a standard like this is wrong. These are exterior things, and they don't really affect our interior spiritual life. Otherwise, we could very easily become like the Pharisees or Sadducees, who followed the letter of the law rather than the spirit of what was taught.
18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. Matt. 15
Some things written down in the scriptures are for our health and well being. The Israelites were taught about dietary laws and this served them well. Some of those same dietary concerns can also help us today as we live in a society where all types of foods and drink is available to us. But these things are not meant to be a yoke that would be tied around ones's neck to follow to the grave. These types of ordinances don’t hurt our salvation but rather, they are guidelines.
Jesus was confronted many times from those who thought he was using too much freedom. He was one who healed on the Sabbath, and even plucked corn. Some attempted to trap him as he went about doing good and following what the Father would have him do.
And a man was there whose hand was withered. And they questioned Jesus, asking, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?-- so that they might accuse Him. Matt. 12:10
12 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat.
God has given us freedom in Christ. We are free and not to use this freedom as a context for evil, and yet, we aren’t to fall back into bondage where rules keep us hemmed in to follow man's standards and not God's.
17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 2 Cor. 3
Don't allow anyone to disqualify you as you live this life in Christ. Many would attempt to put restraints and chains upon you. These are but a shadow of what is to come; they don’t represent the substance of what belongs to Christ. We have died to these things that much of the world follows after. These have an appearance of wisdom, but it is not the wisdom from above, but rather, belongs to the traditions and rules of man.
16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.
20 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations 21 Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch 22 (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? 23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. Col. 2 Stephen Hanson