Message:  In Romans 14 Paul was talking about the importance of honoring each other at our different levels of maturity when it comes to our convictions. Most of Paul’s references were about food because of what food represented to them. For the Jews there had been strict laws to follow about which types of meat they were allowed to eat and which things were considered unclean, while for the Greeks there was a background and culture of idolatry where foods were offered to idols as a sacrifice. Paul personally had no issues eating meat that was previously offered to idols because he understood that idols were just an object that had no actual power. The meat offered to them meant nothing to him, but he understood that for other people, eating that meat would violate their conscience. For some people food might not have been the issue, but they had convictions about certain days that should be kept holy and used to honor God. He urged them all to understand that convictions are a matter of the heart. Paul explained that even though we have a freedom in our understanding for certain things like Paul did with the food offered to idols, if we have a guilt conscience in anything we do it becomes sin to us. This is the primary reason he was asking them (and us) to be honoring and respectful to those around us with “weaker faith” that believe certain things are sin. If we talk them into doing something that violates their conscience, then we are causing them to sin. There should be somewhat of a tension in this though because someone with a seared conscience could do all kinds of things without feeling an ounce of guilt. This doesn’t ever make outright sin right and this is not the kind of freedom Paul was talking about. Sin is sin whether we feel bad or not, but convictions have the potential to become sin if we do them with a violated conscience. Where a lot of Christians get tripped up is they identify so deeply with their convictions being sin that they make it black and white for everyone and they judge other people according to their own convictions. The bottom line here is that we have to be careful that we don’t cause anyone to violate their conscience by doing something they feel convicted about, even if we ourselves feel a freedom in it.

Leave a Reply