Walking in Love
Romans 14:14 I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. 21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. 22 Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. 23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin. (NKJV)





The Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the Christians in Rome during a three month visit to the church in Corinth, Greece in late 56 and early 57 A.D. The letter is heavy with Christian Doctrine, Christian teaching.

The major doctrinal portion of the letter ends with chapter 11. Going forward, the next section (chapters 12-15:13) takes this doctrine and applies it through practical Christian living.

Paul concludes the preceding passage by writing “Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way.” (v. 13). We are not to be a “stumbling block”, causing other Christians to stumble, or fall, in their walk with God

Now, in this passage, Paul continues on this theme of not being a stumbling block to weak, or new, Christians. He uses the example of what we eat and drink in the presence of new Christians.

Paul begins by writing “I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself;” (v. 14a). The Mosaic food laws of the Old Testament no longer apply under the grace of the New Testament.

All foods and drinks are given to us by God and are “sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:5). None are prohibited by God.

Paul continues by writing “but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.” (v. 14b). This is a reference to our conscience, our moral compass from God. We should not violate our conscience.

The Jewish converts to Christianity of Paul’s day were taught in the way of Mosaic food laws. These new converts would have to learn over time that these food laws did not apply to Christians.

But, for now, Paul did not wish this issue to be a stumbling block. Instead, he is asking the more mature Christians to yield, in love.

He writes “Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died.” (v. 15). Christ died for these new Christians and the more mature Christians should not do anything to “destroy” the faith of the new believer.

Paul continues “Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil;” (v. 16).  Even though the freedom to eat or drink anything is good, we are commanded not to let it become evil by destroying the faith of a new Christian.

Paul writes “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (v. 17). Christians should not concern themselves with food and drink, but with the more important matters like ‘righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”. “For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.” (v. 18).

“Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.” (v. 19). We should be peace makers, and, in doing so, we will build up our fellow Christians. We should “not destroy the work of God for the sake of food.” (v. 20a).  

Paul writes “All things indeed are pure” (v. 20b). Here, Paul gives us permission to eat or drink anything we desire when he writes “all things are pure”.

The issue is whether we are exercising this freedom in a way that would be offensive to the new Christian, such as in their presence or talking of such things in their presence. He makes this point when he writes “but it is evil for the man who eats with offense.” (v. 20c).

Paul makes it plain that it is good to refrain from exercising our rights if, by exercising our rights, we cause other Christians to stumble. He writes “It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.” (v. 21).

 Paul continues “Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.” (v. 22). He is saying that we have the freedom of our faith.

However, we should exercise that freedom in private, “before God”. “Happy” is the Christian who does not “condemn himself” by causing his brother to stumble.

Paul concludes this passage by speaking to the new Christian. He calls for them to follow their conscience, their moral compass from God.

He writes “But he who doubts is condemned if he eats,” (v. 23a). The new Christian will be condemned if he violates his conscience, “if he eats”.

Paul writes why this is so, “because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.” (v. 23b). By violating his conscience, the new Christian is violating what is from God, which is sin.

This is not to say, that this new Christian does not have the same freedom as the mature Christian. As the new Christian matures in his faith, God will change his conscience to align with his new faith.

This is sanctification in action, the process of setting us apart to God by changing us into mature Christians. As Christians mature in their walk with God, they are being made more holy and pleasing to God.

And those more mature Christians should allow for God to complete this process in their less mature Christians. Where our less mature Christians are involved, we should be walking in Love. 

Art Toombs Ministries

Online Bible Commentary