Summary: Sometimes its hard to know when to defer to the weaker brother. Paul gives a simple rule of thumb to help in making that decision.
THOUGHTS ABOUT THE PASSAGE:
A prayer before the U.S. Senate. “Lord Jesus, thou who art the way, the truth, and the life; hear us as we pray for the truth that shall make all free. Teach us that liberty is not only to be loved but also to be lived. Liberty is too precious a thing to be buried in books. It costs too much to be hoarded. Help us see that our liberty is not the right to do as we please, but the opportunity to please to do what is right.” (By Peter Marshall).
Sometimes its hard to know when to defer to the weaker brother. Paul gives a simple rule of thumb to help in making that decision. He states that while we have freedom in Christ, we shouldn’t exercise our freedom at the cost of hurting a Christian brother or sister. From verse 23-33 Paul lays down the principles which govern Christian liberty:
4. The principle of expedience - We must not judge our actions simply by whether it is lawful but whether it causes a brother to stumble (v. 23). We can never glorify God by causing another Christian to stumble.
2. The principle of edification - If what I do brings me into subjection rather than helping me glorify Christ, then I need to avoid it (v. 23).
3. The principle of conscience - Since there is nothing wrong with eating meat offered to idols, you don’t need to ask questions but just eat it (v. 27). However, if a weaker brother tells you it has been offered to idols and thinks it is wrong, you should not eat it (v. 28).
4. The principle of evangelism - Is my participation going to hinder or help people to come to a saving knowledge of Christ (v. 33)? We must not live to seek our own benefit, but also the benefit of others, that they might be saved.
Freedom comes from knowledge. “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn 8:32). However, with freedom comes responsibility, just like driving my car on the road.
I should never live my life by seeing how near to sin I can get without being contaminated, but rather how far I can stay away from it.