22 Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.
Paul was still addressing the strong Christian in this verse.
22 Do you [emphatic] have faith?
Paul offered a personal question to mature believers about confidence in their faith in the liberty of grace. Liberty arises out of faith.
The “faith” here is not saving faith but faith in the principle of grace or liberty in the course of our lives. This faith in one’s liberty sees all things as clean with a clear perspective on grace.
Have it to yourself before God.
Mature believers should keep their conviction about their freedom in Christ to themselves and God if it offends immature legalists. By asserting the mature viewpoint, they might retard development toward an edification construct (maturity) of the immature believer. Paul said in effect, “Don’t run roughshod over the weak faith of immature Christians.” We should condition our liberty by love and deference toward immature Christians.
The mature are to keep private their particular view of liberty if it stumbles the weaker believer. The idea in this phrase is, “Don’t parade your view on the subject of grace but keep it between yourself and God.” The mature is not to insist that the immature believer change his scruples until he reaches a stage of maturity.
Happy [blessed] is he who does not condemn himself
It is important to note that the word “happy” does not carry the same sense in the Greek as it does in the English. The word is literally blessed. A blessed person has a well-oriented soul to God; that is, he is prosperous toward God. This person does not live on scruples of legalism but has reached prosperity in understanding the grace principle.
The blessedness of the mature does not need to be disturbed should the immature condemn him. The mature believer who does not cause weak Christians to stumble lives with a sense of well-being in his soul. He has no cause for condemning himself in this matter.
A “blessed” person is someone who maintains a good conscience toward immature Christians. To do what we secretly condemn is to violate our norms of behavior. There is a sense of richness of soul when one lives a consistent life. A Christian who does not live under self-judgment is at peace with himself.
in what he approves.
“Approves” means to approve after testing to find that it meets specifications. The strong Christian has inner liberty and prosperity of soul to do those things of which he approves. He is therefore untroubled by the scruples that may bother the weaker Christian. This mature person does not trust his own judgment in what he values but goes to God’s Word for judgment about these things. He “approves” things by the Word of God.
Mature Christians put everything they do before God for His approval.
Grace living carries a condition to limit our liberty in love. Liberty for self and liberty for others are two different things.
Legalistic flagellation is the opposite of living by grace; it cannot overcome sin or obtain fellowship with God. A mature Christian possesses a reservoir of truth that he can apply to experience. He can apply the principles of grace whenever necessary or under any condition. He does not take the penalty that Jesus took on the cross, because that would rob Jesus of what He did. That would also be a denial of grace. All legalistic beliefs are in some sense a denial of the grace principle. Grace-oriented Christians have clear consciences.
Paul previously used the term “blessed” in 4:7 for a person whose conscience is clear before God. The grace-oriented person is free from scruples and his conscience is free when it comes to his treatment of immature believers; this is a well-oriented soul. Oh, what a blessed state of mind that is! That is the prosperity of a soul oriented to grace.