Moving Toward God's Unity (Part Three)

Let not him who eats regard with contempt him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and stand he will, for the Lord is able to make him stand. (Romans 14:3, 4, NASV)

... For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him. However, not all men have this knowledge ... (1 Corinthians 8:5-7, NASV)

Begin by reading Romans 14:1-12, 15:1-3, and 1 Corinthians 8. All this was written because Christians were confronting Christians in regard to proper worship practices.

Worship backgrounds in the first century differed with today’s Christian worship backgrounds. Then, whether Jewish or idolatrous, worship often involved a sacrifice, eating part of the sacrifice, and sharing the meal. Both the eating and the sharing were regarded to be worship acts (remember the Passover and the Lord’s Supper). Worship often involved feasting—sharing the sacrifice and the feast honored the god.

An argument erupted among Christians (imagine that!). Some were vegetarians because market meat may have been offered to an idol. Those understanding the concept of 1 Timothy 4:1-5 said a Christian could eat anything anywhere if God the Creator was thanked. Meat, sacred days, and other practices considered worship acts were involved.

Paul declared Christians could come to opposite conclusions in pursuit of the same objective. So, regardless of the conclusion reached, realize you all are servants of the Master. Servants serve. They do not judge fellow servants. Only the Master judges. Thus, each of you be ready to explain to God your motives and acts.

Then Paul said something quite contrary to many of our conclusions. God can and will cause Christians reaching opposite conclusions to stand in His approval. Each Christian has two responsibilities: (1) remember you are a servant, and (2) do not judge the religious convictions of another Christian. 

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 27 September, 2009


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