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February 23, 2013

Pride in the Gospel

Romans 14

14 Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister[a]? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written:

“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
    every tongue will acknowledge God.’”[b]

12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking,but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.

22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin

One of the temptations I face every day is to judge people because I feel like they don’t get the gospel. When I see Christians who are still living in their own strength I am tempted to take pride in what I know. Usually the thoughts that run in my mind are:

“Oh, the reason he is like that is because he hasn’t been gospel awakened. Pity him.”

” The gospel is the answer brother, you keep on looking for other things when the answer is simple.”

” He is depressed? Maybe because he doesn’t find his fulfillment in Christ. Hard headed Christian he is.”

When I remember the thoughts that runs in my head, I actually cringe because even if I preach the gospel to myself everyday, I can also get so legalistic with the gospel that I actually shun away people who I think don’t get it.

It was the same when I was journeying in understanding the gospel. Since I was very legalistic before I shunned away a lot of people because of my religious achievements and standards. Virgin when I got married, never kissed a girl, read 4 chapters a day of the Bible, spends at least 30 mins in prayer and Bible and the list goes on and on.

And now I find myself looking down on people who don’t get the gospel. I realized that I was moving in the same spirit. Instead of lovingly guide people to Jesus, I take pride in my new found awakening of the gospel. I am tempted to look down on preachers who were preaching “man centered” while I forget about the years of my legalistic preachings that by God’s grace God has used in His sovereignty to teach me about His grace.

If God has given me grace then I am to give them grace and not judgment. I need to be a brother who leads people to the gospel that has humbled my prideful self. I need to understand Jesus’ work at the cross was all it took to redeem and save me and remind my pastors and fellow siblings in the faith of the gospel in the most gracious way.