In our last post, the guys ignored the vegetarian women traveling with them and stopped at Five Guys for dinner. What followed was an eruption of condemnation and judgement flying back and forth. We then looked at how understanding the gospel didn’t just become the motivation for each party asking forgiveness, but how it actually eliminated any grounds for the condemnation and judgement in the first place. This same situation and solution played out in the Roman church (Romans 14:1-3).
But a Lingering Question Remains.
It is obvious that the gospel heals and repairs strained and broken relationships. It is a great after-the-fact solution. But…
How does the gospel get in front of the situation?
Could the gospel prevent the men from turning into Five Guys in the first place? Can the gospel guide and not just correct? Can it prevent people with differing opinions from fracturing into unfriendly camps? Absolutely. I will be playing this out in the next few blogs as we look at more differing opinions in Romans 14, opinions about valuing certain days above others and then conflicting views about alcohol.
For now, lets jump ahead to the summary conclusion in Romans 15:2 that puts the gospel at the front-side of our choices rather than putting it at the back-side dealing with the unfortunate consequences of our choices. “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” And why do we do that? Romans 14:15 says we do it because our brother is one “for whom Christ died.” There it is again, the gospel.
The principle is this – not how can I enjoy my freedom, but what makes for the growth of my brother or sister in Christ?
Next week: What about some believers who value going to the world series more than church? Does the lordship of Christ give them that freedom?