“Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another.”
Let’s look at the context. Read Romans 14:1-23. Romans 14:13 acts as a transition between the two halves of the chapter. Let’s look at each individually.
1. Several issues surface here between a group of “strong” Christians and a group of “weak” Christians.
2. Paul addresses the strong first. He tells them to accept those who are weak in the faith rather than passing judgment on them.
3. What is the difference between strong and weak here in Romans?
4. Is it the same issue that Paul is dealing with in 1 Corinthians? NO
5. In 1 Corinthians Paul leans his support more toward the weak, here it is more balanced.
6. He doesn’t condemn either for what they do, but rather for how they judge one another.
7. Verse 4 tells precisely why it is wrong to judge one another. Because we are fellow servants of the same Master.
8. First issue between these groups had to do with days of worship.
a. The weak are probably converted Jews still observing the Sabbath, Passover, etc.
b. The strong are probably converted Gentiles or stronger Jews like Paul who generally worship on the first day of the week (Sunday, Resurrection Day)
c. See Colossians 2:16 for further discussion.
9. The issue of meat is probably not the same as in Corinthians
a. Rather an issue of eating clean and unclean foods per the Mosaic Law.
b. The weak felt the necessity to continue in the Mosiac Law.
10. Paul says both groups can serve the Lord, so stop judging one another.
1. This ties onto verse 12. We each are accountable to God for the choice we make (weak or strong).
2. So therefore mind your own business, you have no right to judge your brother on these matters.
1. Verse 13b literally means to refrain from putting a trap in your brother’s path, especially a spiritual trap.
2. Neither group is wrong in their practices, but both must act in love rather than judgment.
3. Don’t force your way on your brother on practices that are not sins by nature.
4. Neither the weak nor strong practice is wrong, unless it causes distress to another.
a. Then it violates the greater command to love one another.
b. Remember Christ did not die that we could have our way in the lives of others, but that Christ could have His way in our own life.
5. Paul reminds them that the things that matter to God are not Sabbath Laws (Matthew 12:8) or Food Codes (Mark 7:18-19), but rather that we follow the lead of the Holy Spirit to practice righteousness, peace (not judging) and joy. Look at Matthew 12:7.
6. These are the things that are pleasing to both God and man.
7. Our feelings on these issues of proper worship days and clean and unclean foods are between us & God. These issues don’t put a believer in jeopardy of being disqualified, so they are not worth arguing over, and potentially alienating a brother/sister in Christ. Verse 22b does warn us to be wise in what we allow (see Acts 15:24-29). The things we have learned in 1 Corinthians (sexual immorality, division, idolatry, improper use of the Lord’s Supper) are non-negotiables. Paul is talking in Romans about issues that decided in either direction don’t cause spiritual harm as long as done in faith & without doubt.