The apostle now turned to discussion of some of the difficulties which may arise in the Christian Church. Dealing with the question of the animals sacrificed to idols he laid down a supreme principle that it would be well for us ever to remember. Every man stands or falls to his own Master. The same principle applies to the observance of days. The court of appeal is the mind loyal to Christ.
The deduction from the discussion has to do with our attitude toward each other. When I pass judgment on my brother, I am usurping the very throne of God. He alone knows all the facts, and alone is able to pass a judgment, and this right He reserves to Himself. The sphere of judgment open to us is not our brother's life and action, but our own. The test by which we are to judge is the welfare of our brother.
This judging of one's self by the standard of the well-being of another now leads the apostle to show what is the highest and noblest exercise of freedom, namely, the abandonment of a right, if need be, for the good of a weak brother.
The apostle summed up the whole question by appealing for such conduct as will make for peace and mutual edification. This, however, by no means issues in anything approaching looseness of moral conduct, for the apostle lays down in this connection what is perhaps the most searching and severe test of conduct in the New Testament, "Whatsoever is not of faith is sin." That is to say two things: first, that a person devoted to the Lordship of Jesus sins when acting from any motive other than confidence in, and obedience to, Him. How many individual questions of conduct, on which we are anxious to obtain outside opinion, would be settled if this principle were always remembered and obeyed.
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25