Useful Bible Studies > Romans Commentary > chapter 14

When a Christian acts against his conscience

Romans 14:14

Suppose that I believe a certain action to be wrong. In other words, I believe that it would offend God for me to do that thing. My opinion about that matter may, of course, be either right or wrong. However, if I then carry out that action, I have certainly done something wrong. Even if my action has not offended God, my attitude certainly has offended him. I would have done something on purpose that I believed to be wrong and evil.

God wanted to separate Israelís people from the other nations, so that they would be his holy people. So, he taught them by his law to live differently from how other people live. For example, he gave them careful rules about various animals that they should not eat (Leviticus chapter 11).

People from other nations could eat those animals, and it would not offend God. The world and everything in it belong to God (Psalm 24:1). So it was not unholy or wrong to eat those animals. Rather, God was teaching Israelís people that they should study how to live as his people. They must not desire to please themselves. That was the real lesson that God wanted them to learn from these rules.

When some Jews (Israelís people) became Christians, they continued of course to obey these rules. They were simply following their conscience, and it was right for them to do that. However, Christ taught that a personís food cannot, by itself, spoil a personís relationship with God. Rather, the evil thoughts that come from inside a person ruin that personís relationship with God. Those evil thoughts cause the person to do all kinds of wicked acts (Mark 7:14-23; see also James 1:13-15).

Next part: Do not please yourself: instead, act in love (Romans 14:15)

 

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© 2018, Keith Simons.