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ROMANS 14, 14-23

ROMANS 14, 14-23

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Published by glennpease


ROMANS XIV. 14 — 23.


ROMANS XIV. 14 — 23.

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 26, 2013
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ROMAS 14, 14-23REV. RALPH WARDLAW, D.D.ROMAS XIV. 14 — 23.
" I knoWf and am peranaded bj the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing andeanof itself: bat to him that esteemetb anj thing to be unclean, to him it is un-clean. But if thy brother be grioTed with thy meat, now walkest thou notcharitably. Destroy not him with thy meat for whom Christ died. Let notthen your good be evil spoken of: for the kingdom of God is not meat and drink ;but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost For he that in thesethings serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us there-fore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith onemay edify another. For meat destroy not the work of God. Ail things indeedare pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. It is good nei-ther to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stum-bieth, or is offended, or is made weak. Hast thou faith? have it to thyself be-fore God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which healloweth. And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith : for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.**
In the preceding verse, in the form of reproof for the pastand admonition for the future, and on the ground of the ac-count to be rendered of their principles and conduct at the judgment-seat of Christ, the Apostle had inculcated an im-portant general duty : " Let us not therefore judge one an-other any more ; but judge this rather, that no man put astumbling-block, or an occasion to fall, in his brother's way."He proceeds here to apply this general precept to the par>ticular case : and he speaks with no uncertainty or hesita*tion. He expresses his "knowledge" and full "persuasion," — as a principle on which he felt himself at perfect liberty246 LECTURE LXIV.to act, without the slightest demurring of conscience — ^thatthere was " nothing unclean of itself."
By this phrase " unclean of itself" he cannot mean merelythat the distinction did not he in the nature of the thing. Thedistinction between " clean" and "unclean" animals in sacri-fice seems to have existed from the beginning.* This was adistinction made by Jehovah himself when sacrificial riteswere instituted. "Whethet, when the grant of animal food wasmade to man, the distinction between "clean" and "unclean"which afterwards had place among the Jews was introduced,is a matter of uncertainty. But whether it was or not, theredoes not appear the smallest ground for believing that itwould ever have suggested itself independently of a divineinterdict. That men would have discovered, and have actedupon the discovery, that different kinds of food were more andless agreeable and wholesome, is true. But the distinction be-tween "clean" and "unclean "meats proceeds on considerations,whatever they might be, independent of this, or, if in someinstances connected with it, not uniformly so. It is ob-vious that the Apostle's "knowledge" and "persuasion" thatthe distinction rested not in the nature of the thing wouldhave been nothing at aU to the purpose. If God had madethe distinction, it was enough. If it still had the sanctionof divine authority, no man could be at liberty to dispensewith it The ground or reason of the law was not the ques-tion. The sole inquiry was whether the law, of the exist-ence of which there could be no doubt, was still in force.The distinction had originated, not in the nature of thingsbut in the sovereign will of God. The expression " of itsdf"therefore, does not mean independently of God*s appoint-ment, but independently of the conscientious convictions of His people. Accordingly, he does not say, that althoughthere is nothing " unclean of itself" the will of God has madecertain kinds of food " unckan ; " but that the uncleanness nowdepended on the state of mind of the eatei^— " there is no-thing unclean of itself, but to him that eeteemeth amy thing* Gen. viii. 20.
ROMAS XIV. 14—23. 247to be unclean, to him it is unclean,'^ A Jew under the oldeconomy could not haye spoken thus. The distinction didnot then depend at all on any convictions of his mind, onany views of nature or of duty which he might entertain: — it was a matter of explicit divine prescription. The mean-ing evidently is, that now the case was different; that thedifference, whence soever arising of old, no longer existed.And, accordingly, in verse twentieth there is a still more un-qualified statement of the doing away of the distinction, " Allthings are pui»"- — or " deajti^' The duty or the sin now arose>not from any actually existing and obligatory statute, butfrom the state of the individual's convictions in regard tostatutes that had been formerly in force. K any man withthe cenviction in his conscience that the statute was noi re«pealed, ehould eat of meats which by that statute had been jyrouounced " unclean," he anned : — ^for to Mm they still w&ra'^ unclean." o one was to act against the convicUons of hisown mind. For such a man to eat would obviously, in theprinciple of it, be a violation of the divine law, that law stillmaintaining its authority in his conscience. M^ore of tJiison verse twentieth.The Apostle's "knowledge" and "persu^on" were "^yih,e Lord Jesm" They rested, that is, on the authority of the Lord Jesus: — they were in accordance with the viewswhich he had obtained, and that by I'evelation, of the natureof the work of Christ and the principles of His kingdom. Itamounts to this, that under the ew Testament dispensation^the dispensation introduced and established by the LordJesuS) the distinction in question was done away. There canbe no doubt, that his conviction was based on the same au-thority with all that he states -as the mind and will of his divine Master.*The statements of the Lord Jesus during his life, in in-troducing the spiritual principles of His kingdom, are inharmony with the Apostle's views: "Do ye not perceive,that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man,

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