The first verse of Chapter 15 speaks of Paul saying, ….”So,”. Therefore the chapter before needs to be considered….and in truth Paul’s conversation starts in Chapter 12 where he begins speaking about the different parts of the body that work together in love to edify the church. So, let us continue by understanding that Paul is speaking believers….all believers in Yeshua Jesus’ resurrection. He is out in the Dispora among Jews and Gentiles…bringing them together in how to be a strong part of this growing body.
Roman 14 does NOT override God’s eating legislation …. keep reading … because this is important to your doctrine’s belief. The key word for Paul in this entire conversation is the word, “Trust”. “Anything NOT done in trust is sin.” As believers we do NOT want to sin, thus it is important to look at the context in which Paul is speaking. Part II will come after this writing.
Romans 14:16 “Do not let what you know to be good, be spoken of as bad.” He is speaking of the Jew’s Torah they have always lived by to live in unity and it also includes food. The conversation is: Romans 14:14 “I know…that is, I have been persuaded by the Lord Yeshua the Messiah..that nothing is unclean itself. But……if a person considers something unclean, then for him it is unclean; and if your brother is being upset by the food you eat, your life is no longer one of love.
Paul is speaking to all his brothers who are already eating kosher. He is also speaking to those that are new to God’s dietary laws. Eating kosher is the righteous way for a Messianic Believer and Jewish person to eat.
Arguments over opinions of whether to eat a vegetarian diet or a meat diet is being discussed…not opinions of The Lord’s Feasts Days or the Sabbath. Food is discussed because Gentiles in the Dispora have been around pagen gods and goddesses and they are not sure about the meat that is being served them. Some believers are called ‘strong’ because they are so concerned about the ‘idolatrous meat’ in their towns that they have turned to only eat vegetables.
Romans 14:9 tells us that Messiah died and came back to life, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and living. verse 10 “You then, why do you pass judgment on our brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For ALL of us will stand before God’s judgment seat; since it is written in the Tanakh, “As I live, says ADONAI, every knee will bend before me, and every tongue will publicly acknowledge God.”
We will judge The Nations and angels…and we do judge ourselves within believers so SIN doesn’t stay among us…but food…really? There should be no discussion about food because it’s laid out not to eat scavengers. The food laws mostly point to animals that are eaten and so we don’t see vegetables being a problem. If an animal does not chew it’s cud and have a split hoof it is forbidden. A camel would not be eaten even though it’s hoof is split. A pig has a split hoof but does not chew it’s cud. The way an animal digests it’s food determines what goes into it’s own body. We can analyize each animal, but that is not up for discussion with God. It is about TRUST and OBEY him.
Paul’s teachings are to avoid arguments among believers. Thus, his statements must be understood so there remains love between God’s children. Believers should not fight and call legalism what is NOT legalism in God’s eyes. Romans 14:17. “For the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness (Torah), shalom and joy in the Ruach HaKodesh. Anyone who serves the Messiah in this fashion both pleases God and wins the approval of other people.”
The Kingdom of God should not be about arguing over being a vegetarian or a meat eater. The Kingdom of God is about living our a life in Torah because you want to be pleasing to God. Each person will stand before the Bema seat of judgment and account for every evil act and evil word from their mouth.
Romans 14:19 “So then, let us pursue the things that make for shalom (peace) and mutual upbuilding. Don’t tear down God’s work for the sake of food.” The food spoken of here is NOT pig or scavengers or anything listed in The Lord’s Food Laws. This food being spoken of is the meat and drink that came from the other ‘gods’ food tables. Some New Testament Bibles have used the word, ‘common’ to define this meat that was once offered to other gods. But, I’ve been in error after listening to Tom Bradford’s message on unclean and clean. In the Old Testament (Tanahk) the word common is Greek (koine) and never used. It is a new word created by the Greeks and misused in this context.
The King James Bible uses the words correctly in the same sentence. Acts 10:14 “But Kefa said, “No, sir! Absolutely not! I have never eaten food that was unclean or treif.” Trief means something that has been torn…mutilated…unsuitable. Unclean is food not permissable to eat. Thus, Tom Bradford from Torah Portions explains that these two words can be related. Unclean meat might have been torn and it also may not been killed, prepared and cooked properly. Both Paul and Peter are stating that they have been stronger in Torah than most and never ever have they eaten incorrectly. But, Peter’s vision was about going to The Gentiles to show them that they also can live their lives according to Torah and The Jews should NOT be jealous over it. They are to be ‘grafted in’ to the ways of Yeshua which was called, The Torah…known today as The Living Instruction / Word.
Romans 15:1 shows Paul adding himself to the conversation when he uses, “we”. He is speaking about the strong as being those that are strong in the faith. The weak are those saved by Yeshua’s blood and new to The Torah instructions. Even the Messiah did NOT please himself; rather, as the Tanakh says, ‘The insults of those insulting you fell on me.’ Romans 15:3.
Yeshua was out great example of doing Torah as it points to him. He was strong in it but was patient with those that were weak in it. Romans 15:4 “For everything written in the past was written to teach us, so that with encouragement of the Tanakh we might patiently hold on to our hope……….so that with one accord and with one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah.”
Those verses are important for you to read…please open your Bibles.
It is written in the Tanakh to show mercy to the Gentiles causing them to glorify God. Gentiles are to rejoice with God’ people. Romans 15:11 “And again, Praise, ADONAI, all Gentles! Let all people praise him!”
We are grafted into the ways of praising ADONAI.
The Jew has the strong way to celebrate God….because Yeshua our Messiah came through Jessee “And again Isaiah says, “The root of Yishai will come, he who arises to rule Gentiles; Gentiles will put their hope in him.”
Paul goes on to remind his Jewish brethren that he has a priestly duty to present the Good News of God, so that the Gentiles may be an acceptable offering, made holy by the Ruach HaKodesh.
We see the spirit involved with the Gentile’s salvation just as The Spirit is involved with all salvations. Paul has said that he is a strong Jew even a Pharisee of Pharisees. He was a rabbi with Roman citizenship because of his parents. It is because he knew so many languages that he is able to cross into cities and speak about resurrection to his Jewish brothers and Gentiles.
Now we see a calling to the Gentiles to help the Jews. God knew they would persecuted throughout history and now the grafted-in Gentile is going to be called to action.
Romans 15:27 “They were pleased to do it, but the fact is that they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared with the Jews in spiritual matters, then the Gentiles clearly have a duty to help the Jews in material matters.”
Wow….Help the Jews in material matters…..WHY? Because they have the key to Spiritual matters….the Torah teaches how to live once accepting Yeshua Jesus as The Messiah.
Paul closes Romans asking for prayer for being rescued. He wants to be rescued from the ‘unbelievers’ in the area of Judah and he is asking prayer that his service in Jerusalem will be acceptable to God’s people there.
He is fully a Jew…eating Kosher…acting as a priest when ministering and a Pharisee. And, he is asking them to welcome their sister Phoebe a Deacon…head person…Shammash of the congregation and give her whatever assistance she needs.
Therefore my friends….let us stop putting down woman as teachers. It is always God’s authority over a person…the Holy Spirit…that is in charge. Do NOT ever discredit…quench the Holy Spirit in anyone’s life. The verse of ‘woman’ being taught at home by their husband’s was a particular instance when there was so much confusion going on with so many people, that the women were told to ask their husband’s about it later at home. This one situation has caused much ‘un-loved’ feelings in ‘the church’ because of not undersanding the context. Now it’s time to bring the woman forward and see what God via the Holy spirit has been teaching them.
“And we should thank those that welcome us into their homes such as Priscilla and Aquila…”my fellow workers for Messiah Yeshua. They risked their necks to save my life; not only I thank them, but also all the Messianic communities among the Gentiles.”
THUS, let those that have more faith and trust…help those that don’t have as much faith and trust. We are not to be boastful but help those that want to love our Savior that is soon to return. Will he find love in the Church or people proudly handing their pastor a ‘bacon’ calendar indicating a ‘slap’ in the face of those that are called, ‘strong’ by Paul. He prayed for safety from them and so do I. Ignorance is no longer bliss….because many are going to be called, least in the kingdom…Yes saved, but least.
The strong usually have a hard time helping the weak. Yeshua was the strongest of all because he gave every last ounce of strength to the ‘weak’….us! May we all TRUST Paul’s words so we stop beating each other up.