Summary of passage: Paul repeats to stop judging others and quit putting stumbling blocks in others’ way. If someone believes something is unclean, fine. Let it go. If you are having dinner with someone and you are eating something they disapprove of, stop eating it for that meal. Don’t be a stumbling block. What matters is serving God and have peace, joy, and righteousness in the Holy Spirit.
9) Stop judging others. Don’t put stumbling blocks in others’ way or be a stumbling block. Let things go.
10) Jesus’s sacrifice eradicated all the old rules so now all foods are clean. The person’s beliefs himself makes food unclean–no rules do.
11) By not being thoughtful of the other person. If you drink alcohol in front of an alcoholic, you are causing him or her to stumble. Be considerate of others’ struggles.
12) “Righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” God’s kingdom is not concerned with petty arguments. God is concerned with the heart.
Conclusions: Straight-forward passage with straight-forward questions. Rise above the pettiness!
End Notes: Paul summarizes Chapter 14 so far: In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus helped us to understand that we should not judge others according to a standard that we would not want to have applied to our self. We still need to and have a responsibility for admonishment (Romans 15:14) or rebuke (2 Timothy 4:2). However, when we admonish or rebuke, we do it over clear Scriptural principles, not over doubtful things. We may offer advice to others about doubtful things, but should never judge them.
We might stumble or cause our brother to fall in two ways. We can discourage or beat them down through our legalism against them, or we can do it by enticing them to sin through an unwise use of our liberty.
Our freedom from Old Testament law is good unless we use it against another brother–then it is evil.
Love is the proper way to settle disputes.
Christ died for both weak and strong Christians. Surely, we can adjust our behavior accordingly (1 Corinthians 8:11-13; 10:23, 28-29, 32-22).
This passage is another great example of Paul’s concern for the moral and ethical dimension of the Christian life.