To Live and Die for Christ. 1* Welcome anyone who is weak in faith,a but not for disputes over opinions.b 2One person believes that one may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables.c 3The one who eats must not despise the one who abstains, and the one who abstains must not pass judgment on the one who eats; for God has welcomed him.d 4Who are you to pass judgment on someone else’s servant? Before his own master he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.e 5[For] one person considers one day more important than another, while another person considers all days alike.f Let everyone be fully persuaded in his own mind.* 6Whoever observes the day, observes it for the Lord. Also whoever eats, eats for the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; while whoever abstains, abstains for the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself. 8For if we live, we live for the Lord,* and if we die, we die for the Lord; so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.g 9For this is why Christ died and came to life, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.h 10Why then do you judge your brother? Or you, why do you look down on your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God;i 11for it is written:
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bend before me,
and every tongue shall give praise to God.”j
12So [then] each of us shall give an account of himself [to God].k
Consideration for the Weak Conscience. 13Then let us no longer judge one another, but rather resolve never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.l 14I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; still, it is unclean for someone who thinks it unclean.m 15If your brother is being hurt by what you eat, your conduct is no longer in accord with love. Do not because of your food destroy him for whom Christ died.n 16So do not let your good be reviled.o 17For the kingdom of God is not a matter of food and drink, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the holy Spirit;p 18whoever serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by others. 19Let us* then pursue what leads to peace and to building up one another.q 20For the sake of food, do not destroy the work of God.r Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to become a stumbling block by eating; 21it is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. 22Keep the faith [that] you have to yourself in the presence of God; blessed is the one who does not condemn himself for what he approves. 23s But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because this is not from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.*
* [14:1–15:6] Since Christ spells termination of the law, which included observance of specific days and festivals as well as dietary instruction, the jettisoning of long-practiced customs was traumatic for many Christians brought up under the Mosaic code. Although Paul acknowledges that in principle no food is a source of moral contamination (Rom 14:14), he recommends that the consciences of Christians who are scrupulous in this regard be respected by other Christians (Rom 14:21). On the other hand, those who have scruples are not to sit in judgment on those who know that the gospel has liberated them from such ordinances (Rom 14:10). See 1 Cor 8; 10.
* [14:5] Since the problem to be overcome was humanity’s perverted mind or judgment (Rom 1:28), Paul indicates that the mind of the Christian is now able to function with appropriate discrimination (cf. Rom 12:2).
* [14:8] The Lord: Jesus, our Master. The same Greek word, kyrios, was applied to both rulers and holders of slaves. Throughout the Letter to the Romans Paul emphasizes God’s total claim on the believer; see note on Rom 1:1.
* [14:23] Whatever is not from faith is sin: Paul does not mean that all the actions of unbelievers are sinful. He addresses himself to the question of intracommunity living. Sin in the singular is the dreadful power described in Rom 5:12–14.