Paul has just explained how we should deal with our own weaknesses (13:14). His next subject is how we should deal with the weaknesses of other Christians.
He describes a man who is weak in faith. Faith means belief and trust in God; therefore, this man is not trusting God properly. The man is weak in faith, but he is not completely without faith; therefore the man does seem to be a genuine Christian. So, Paul tells Romeís Christians that they should accept this man as a member of their church. God has accepted this man, so they should accept him too. The man is weak, so they must deal with him kindly, gently and patiently. However, they must not allow him constantly to argue with them, or to teach in their church. In these matters, they must be firm with him.
We ask how a Christian can be weak in faith. There are two main reasons. Some Christians are weak because they allow wrong desires and feelings to direct their actions (see Romans 6:12-23). So, they do many wrong things simply because they want to do those things (James 1:14-15). They are not trusting God properly; they are not allowing his Holy Spirit to direct their lives (8:5-9).
Other Christians are weak because of a wrong attitude toward the rules and traditions of their religion. To become Christians and to live in the manner that pleases God, we must trust God constantly (Galatians 3:1-5; Hebrews 10:35-38). However, these Christians are trying to please God by their efforts to obey his law strictly. That was the attitude of the man that Paul refers to in Romans 14:1. That was also why the man wanted to teach; he thought that he knew a better way for Christians to live. However, Christians should allow the Holy Spirit to direct their lives, and then they will not offend against Godís law (Galatians 5:16-26). That is how God wants his people to live.
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© 2018, Keith Simons.