16 Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil;
Paul now introduced a second consideration that the more mature believer must take into account. He must take into deliberation how others might view his actions.
The word “therefore” draws an inference from verses 13 to 15. If the strong ruin the immature believer’s spiritual life, then some will despise the principle of grace.
do not let your [mature believer] good be spoken of as evil [reviled];
The “good” here is the mature believer’s liberty in Christ, the grace principle. It is possible that some will despise grace if the mature believer does not take care how he approaches his freedom in Christ.
The grace principle is vulnerable to people of weak faith.
Many Christians are ignorant of their full liberty in Christ (Ga 5:1ff). When we study a chapter like Romans 14, we may be tempted to squelch our liberty in Christ. It is not wise to do this because it would take away a strong dynamic of Christian living. To simply follow the dictates of custom or tradition is not true spirituality, nor is this the point of this chapter. The book of Galatians warns us about walking in the straightjacket of legalism. Christian living cannot be regimented and still carry the dynamic of true spirituality.
Having said that, we must nevertheless keep the principle of Romans 14 in view. In other words, we need to hold both the weak brother and our personal liberty in tension simultaneously. We can and must do both. There are times when the legalist needs to be challenged to get rid of his legalism. We see this clearly in Galatians. This kind of Christian needs to enter into his liberty in Christ. This would challenge those who are established in their faith and would not stumble if charged to do so. The issue in chapter 14 is not this kind of Christian but someone who would be crushed by violating his conscience.
When it comes to personal policy, neither the mature nor the immature is to call the belief of the other person evil. The mature should enjoy his liberty and the immature should follow his conscience.
Martin Luther in his treatise On the Freedom of a Christian Man said, “A Christian man is a most free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian man is a most dutiful servant of all, subject to all.” Luther had the right perspective on Romans 14.