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1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
Ver. 1. Him that is weak, &c. ] That is, not thoroughly persuaded of all things pertaining to Christian liberty about things indifferent.
Receive ] Affectu charitatis, put him into your bosoms, bear with his weaknesses, &c. Bucer rejected none, though different in some opinions, in whom he found aliquid Christi, anything of Christ, whose weaklings are to be handled with all tenderness. (Haymo.)
But not to doubtful ] Make him not question sick, 1 Timothy 6:4 . Wring not men’s consciences, you may hap to break the wards if you do.
2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
Ver. 2. Eateth herbs ] Rather than meats forbidden by the law, Daniel 1:11 . The ancient Latins were as well paid of herbs to eat, as if they had had all manner of dainties. Green herbs were both food and medicine to them. Holus ab Vegetables from ολον .
3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
Ver. 3. For God hath received him ] viz. For his household servant, which David counted a greater dignity than to be king of Israel. And Justinian the emperor styled himself Ultimum servorum Dei, the meanest of God’s servants.
4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
Ver. 4. Who art thou, &c. ] The wisdom from above is without censuring, without hypocrisy, saith St James, James 3:17 . Intimating, that the greatest censurers are mostly the greatest hypocrites. And as any one is more wise, he is more sparing of his censures.
5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike . Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
Ver. 5. Let every man be fully persuaded ] It is a safe rule, Quod dubites ne feceris, In doubtful cases be sure to take the surer side. (Plin. Epist.)
6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it . He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
Ver. 6. For he giveth God thanks ] A custom used by the very heathens to their gods, as is to be read in Homer and Virgil, but grown clean out of use among the Catholics in France and Italy, (Sir Ed. Sands, Spec. Europae.) But if they that give thanks at a meal do eat to God, to whom do they eat that give none?
7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.
Ver. 7. For none of us liveth to himself ] St Paul stood, as it were, on tiptoes, αποκαραδοκια , Philippians 1:20 , to see which way he might best glorify God, by life or by death.
8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.
Ver. 8. We are the Lord’s ] Death divides us not from Christ, but brings us home to him, 2 Corinthians 5:6 . It is but winking (as that martyr said), and thou shalt be in heaven presently.
9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
Ver. 9. That he might be Lord ] He won his crown before he wore it; he fought for it, and having vanquished all enemies, he accomplished and proclaimed the victory in his glorious resurrection, triumphed in his wonderful ascension, leading captivity captive, &c., Ephesians 4:8 .
10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
Ver. 10. But why dost thou, &c. ] Three things are not subject to our judgment: 1. The counsels of God. 2. The Holy Scriptures. 3. The persons of men. Be not therefore rash in rejecting or sour in censuring your fellowservant; but let your moderation herein be known to all men; and the rather, because the Lord is at hand, Philippians 4:5 .
The judgment seat of Christ ] Who gives the Lamb in his escutcheon; and wilt thou give the lion?
11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
Ver. 11. As I live, saith the Lord ] As true as I live, is an oath, as appears here, and Numbers 14:21 ; cf. Psalms 95:11 . Forbear it, therefore.
12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
Ver. 12. So then every one, &c. ] It was excellent counsel that the orator gave his hearers, Ita vivamus ut rationem nobis reddendam arbitremur. (Cic. IV in Ver.) Let us so live as those that must give an account of all at last.
13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.
Ver. 13. Any more ] As they formerly had done; being overly sour and supercilious.
A stumblingblock, or an occasion &c. ] A lighter or greater offence to make him go halting to heaven.
14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
Ver. 14. I know and am persuaded ] Many, on the contrary, are persuaded before they know; and such will not be persuaded to know. The Valentinian heretics had a trick to persuade before they taught, as saith Tertullian. The old sectaries had their pithanology, insinuative and persuasive language; so have the modern; and hence so many dissonant opinions among us. If ye speak with several tongues (so hold several opinions) will not he that comes in think ye are mad? 1Co 14:9-11 Dii boni, quomodo hic vivunt gentes! How strangely do people live here, said a stranger, observing our divisions in Henry VIII’s time, which (alas) were nothing comparable to these of our days, and all because simple men and silly women are soon persuaded to that which they understand not. The silly simple believeth everything: weak as water on a table, which with a wet finger may be led any way. Pethi, Pro 14:15
By the Lord Jesus ] Who hath pulled down the partition-wall, and purchased our Christian liberty.
15 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.
Ver. 15. But if thy brother be grieved ] It is his weakness to be grieved thereat, but gratify him howsoever. What one speaks of a plain place of Scripture, this verse, saith he, had been easy, had not commentators made it knotty; the like saith another of a Christian’s condition, it is gracious, happy, clear, sure, sweet, did not erroneous judgments vex and unsettle them.
16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of:
Ver. 16. Let not then your good ] That is, your Christian liberty purchased by Christ.
Be evil spoken of ] Gr. be blasphemed. Contumely cast upon the people of God is blasphemy in the second table. God, for the honour that he beareth to his people, counts and calls it so.
17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Ver. 17. For the kingdom of God, &c. ] That was a swinish saying of Epicurus, that eternal life should be nothing else but a continual eating of the fat and drinking of the sweet, even unto an incessant surfeiting and drunkenness, κραιπαλην και μεθην αιωνιον . The Turks to this day promise Paradise to such as die in war for the Mahometan faith, where they shall have delicious fare, pleasant gardens, all sensual delights, eternally to be enjoyed, notwithstanding any former sins. Fit lettuce for such lips.
18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
Ver. 18. Is acceptable to God ] And he is a happy man that can be acquitted by himself in private, in public by others, in both by God.
19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
Ver. 19. Wherewith one may edify another ] Discords among good people do edificare in gehennam, build in hell, as Tertullian phraseth it, build backwards. One of the main scandals the Jews take from Protestants is their dissension.
20 For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.
Ver. 20. The work of God ] That work of faith, 1 Thessalonians 1:3 , wrought by the mighty power of God, Ephesians 1:19 , who puts not forth great power but for great purposes.
21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
Ver. 21. It is good neither to eat, &c. ] It will be no grief of heart (as Abigail once told David in another case, 1Sa 25:31 ) to have forborne in case of scandal. A great grief it would be if by some rash word we should betray a brother, or smite out the eye of our dearest child; should we then destroy the life of grace in another by our unadvised walking?
22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.
Ver. 22. Hast thou faith ] Posse, et nolle, nobile est. To be able, and unwilling, is noble. Forbear for fear of offence, unless it be in point of necessary duty: for then we may not do evil that good may come,Romans 3:8; Romans 3:8 .
23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
Ver. 23. Is damned ] Both of his doubting conscience, which soundeth heavily, as a shaulm; and of God, who is greater than his conscience.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Romans 14". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent