“If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord (Romans 14:8)
When it comes to what we do or do not do within our lives, our motives will relate to one of two options. We either will be motivated by the world and its expectations or be motivated out of serving the Lord. For the Apostle Paul, he proclaims that we as followers of Christ live to the Lord.
“Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters (Romans 14:1)”
The challenge facing the Romans which Paul is seeking to address is working with disputable matters surrounding different faith practices. Paul confirms that people are to accept the choices of others and the faith they are displaying – even if it is weaker than theirs. Passing judgment upon others based upon their faith is not to take place.
“Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand (Romans 14:4)”
Paul inquires about the ability for anyone to judge another person. Each are accountable to their master. However, the Lord is also able to work in all people that which will produce good, and thus allowing a person to stand firm.
“For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone (Romans 14:7)”
While we may at times display actions that are self-seeking and along the path of the world, there tends to come a time where we are aware of this selfish nature. We recognize that there is something bigger at work within our lives, and that which we do is to bring honor to the Lord. Therefore, we start to turn from our selfish ways and begin seeking to live not for ourselves, but for the Lord. Paul desires to encourage the people that while it may appear certain earthly practices are not in line with what they follow, the deeper desire to honor the Lord in the actions is what matters.
As we go about our daily lives, may we not be so concerned about all the “right practices” and all the “right beliefs” and instead focus on what truly matters – glorifying the Lord. It is through Christ’s death and resurrection that we receive the gift of grace and mercy. It is a gift that no one deserves, yet it is freely given to all out of God’s great love for us. May we celebrate and share this gift. In doing so, perhaps those that have sought a different path will recognize the power of the Lord, the abundant love and forgiveness available, and will turn towards living not solely for themselves, but instead for the Lord.
“If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord (Romans 14:8)”
Pastor Arlyn ><>