Who Can Judge?

Key Verse: “Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.”
—Romans 14:13

Selected Scripture:
Romans 14:1-17

THIS LESSON IS ON THE subject of judging. In the last verse of the previous chapter, the apostle in giving practical advice for daily living says, “Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” (Rom. 13:14) The Christian’s goal is to be as much like Christ as is humanly possible. In our Lord we have a grand example of perfection in the flesh, but being imperfect we will never be able to fully live up to this standard. Knowing this we find it is our intentions that must be as perfect as possible.

This lesson deals with how we treat others, especially those who are striving to live as close to Christ as possible. Paul begins with the admonition, “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.” (Rom. 14:1) Some were new to the faith, and criticism arose by the more mature over what to eat, and what not to eat. At that time animals were sacrificed to idols. There were so many offerings to pagan gods that only a small portion was sacrificed and the remainder was sold in butcher shops at bargain prices. The question arose should any of the brethren buy and eat such meat.

The apostle in another place says, “Meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.”—I Cor. 8:8,9

If we feel at liberty to eat such meat and a brother or neighbor sees differently, then we must refrain from this liberty, lest we cause another to fall. The Apostle Paul explains, “If meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.”—I Cor. 8:13

The point of judging cannot be taken lightly. We read, “Do not judge lest you be judged.” “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.—Matt. 7:1,2, New American Standard

The apostle makes the point that one esteems one day above another while another sees each day alike, but that no one lives to himself, each must be fully persuaded in his mind. We have one master, Jesus Christ. It is Christ who died and was resurrected and who now is Lord of the living and the dead. (Rom. 14:9) Therefore, Paul says, “Why dost thou judge thy brother? … for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ” (vs. 10), and further admonishes us; Do not “put a stumblingblock” in our brother’s way. (vs. 13) To stumble, gives the thought ‘to trip up.’

The apostle was confident that “nothing [was] unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.” (vs. 14) Hence he said, “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient [profitable].—I Cor. 6:12

We must be careful to see that our walk is along the lines of love, “Let not then 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 Spirit.”(Rom. 14:16,17) We should never exercise our liberty in Christ in a way that would stumble our brethren.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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