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Read Introduction to Romans

 

2 For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables.

 

Verse two sets forth a specific disagreement between believers. The mature believer eats meat and the weaker eats only vegetables.

2 For

Verse two expands verse one. The strong believes he can eat meat whereas the weak deems that belief wrong.

one believes he may eat all things,

The area of doubt in verse one is a question of diet. Mature believers know that there is nothing intrinsically evil about eating meat offered to an idol in the temple (cf. 1 Co 8:10). The question here is what the mature or strong Christian “believes.”

Ro 15: 1 We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

but he who is weak eats only vegetables.

The person who has the conviction to eat only vegetables is scrupulous about eating meat offered to idols and later sold in the meat market. This opinion was wrong because God does not forbid Christians to eat any kind of food (1 Ti 4:3-4). Eating food is neither good nor bad; it is amoral from God’s viewpoint.

The issue here has nothing to do with being a vegetarian. In this example of scruples, the weak believer eats only vegetables for religious reasons, applying previous religious bias to Christianity. He may even do this with a pseudo-religious arrogance.

PRINCIPLE:

Violation of personal convictions distorts the soul.

APPLICATION:

An overriding principle when it comes to disputed questions among believers is that one should not violate his convictions. The weak should not violate their conviction about not eating meat even though it is not a requirement from God. Every decision should branch out from conviction.

All of us carry within us a set of values born out of our past experiences and influences. The problem is that we might regard these values as sacrosanct. These unexamined values will not change without some form of dissidence introduced into our lives. This is why it is important that we open ourselves objectively to study the Bible without bias. Otherwise, we will continue a censorious attitude borne out of something other than Christianity. Legalism always works in a presumptuous way.

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