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The Bible Teacher's Commentary
Romans 14:5-6 Live By One's Conscience trains the individual believer to live by self-control with respect to how he might think of another. The point is to identify the standards, focus on your responsibility and encourage others. Living by one's conscience should be a common not rare habit of Christians. Part of The Bible Teacher's Commentary on the Book of Romans.
"5 One man regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God” (Romans 14:5-6).
The church as a whole has not taught much regarding the importance of keeping a clean conscience. The term here for ‘clean conscience’ is not used but this does not matter. The idea is clearly taught.
The phrase ‘fully convinced in his own mind’ helps each believer understand that he or she must understand whether some issue is proper always, sometimes or never. Being ‘fully convinced’ speaks about what that person has come to believe through understanding the scriptures. It is not simply speaking about adopting the values of those around you.
One’s conscience has also been affected by the fall. It needs to be renewed by the Holy Spirit working through the scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Fully convinced in his own mind implies that there has been some wrestling with the issue. And because of that arguing, different perspectives have been observed along with their supporting evidence. Once a person has gone through this process, they can become fully convinced. This perspective, then, becomes one’s upgraded conscience. It is then important to live consistently with that conscience.
It is inappropriate to decide things as one goes along. It is much better to carefully consider the scriptures rather than being influenced by the standards (or non-standards) of your friends.
The apostle brings the focus of the two groups onto the same object, that is, to please the Lord. When both have the same purpose, then the issues that divide are minimized. But more than this, we begin to live before the Lord. This is another Christian mindset that is often neglected.
Our decisions are made in light of what the Lord wants from our lives. And then we carry out those decisions to please the Lord. With the Lord on the mind, we not only stop thinking in a comparative way with others, but we are able to focus on what pleases the Lord.
Have you become fully convinced through the scriptures on certain issues? Which ones?
Which areas do you still need to be fully convinced in? List them out and start prayerfully studying one. Think of it as a journey where the Lord better trains you.
Do you live unto the Lord? Think through two areas of your life and examine whether you live unto the Lord and what difference that perspective makes.
Many believers feel rather intense about these issues. But we must be careful that, as Paul commands us, we are to accept or receive those ‘weak’ in faith. The biggest danger is pride. Paul even mentions pride as a huge problem who is spiritual and confronting someone in an open trespass (Galatians 6:1).
We can easily go from discerning to judging, ‘he is wrong’ and ‘I am better.’ Pride will never help us accomplish God’s will. Pride is Satan’s greatest assistant. We can be ‘strong,’ ‘spiritual’ or even ‘weak,’ but pride is a big danger.
Once we start looking at people as on the other side, then our attitudes toward them have been corrupted. Genuine compassion and grace leads us to think about acceptance, restoration and reconciliation. Pride is eager to put down others while grace seeks the best for others. Pride is always a loser.
Think of your latest family gathering. There are many children playing about. Some of the children are not doing or saying the right things. They need to be corrected.
At the same time, however, notice how the adults exercise a greater patience towards the little ones. Although they don’t like what the naughty children are doing, they still continue to treat them as belonging to their family.
They are one family. They might not like the children’s disobedience, but they still love them and treat them as part of the family. This is the way it should be with the family of Christian believers. We might need to correct another, but we really want the best for all. The issue is not whether we are better than another but only carrying out proper correction so that we can all please the Lord.
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