“None of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord: and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.”– Rom_14:7-8.
THE KEY to this wonderful chapter, so full of sound judgment and sanctified common sense, is the reiterated reference which the Apostle makes to the Lord, which occurs some ten times in fourteen verses. The fact of Jesus being Lord both of the living and of those who have died, and are living on the other side of death, is the solution of the difficulty as to what the Christian should do or leave undone. Let each of us stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, or at least before the reflection of that tribunal which is mirrored in the tranquil expanse of conscience, and we shall have an unerring guide for conduct.
The question agitated in Rome was as to the observance of the seventh or first day of the week as the Christian Sabbath; and, what principle should direct the use of food–that of Leviticus, or of common use. The Apostle insists that these are not questions which affect either our personal salvation or our acceptance with God. In his opinion they are matters for each individual Christian to settle and decide for himself. There are certain questions clear as light, or black as night, about which there can be no controversy; but there are other questions for the solution of which each must apply one or other of these general principles for guidance through the maze.
What would Jesus Christ, my Lord and Master, wish me to do? I am His servant, and He will let me know His will by the teaching of His Spirit in my heart. Whether I act or forbear, it must be done unto Him; and in my liberty or abstinence I must give Him thanks.
What is best for others? I have an influence over some; perhaps more look to me for guidance than I know. I must be on my guard not to put a stumbling block in another’s way. Though certain things are innocent to me, yet, if they will destroy, directly or indirectly, one for whom Christ died, it will be better for me to abstain from them.
What is best for myself? I ask God not to lead me into temptation, but I must not put myself into it. I must put aside all weights as well as sins, that I may follow Christ as He goes forth to the conquest of evil.
O Lord and Master, Dear Jesus, may we be faithful to Thee in the little things, always following the inner light, till it lead us into the perfect day. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.