Unlimited: If You Think It is Unclean
Oct 16, 2023 225
But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean (Romans 14:14b).
What is the apostle Paul saying here? Is he telling us that we can do whatever we like in everything? Is he saying that whatever you think right for you is right? Not at all!
Behind Paul’s thinking is that in our lives as Christians we must be fundamentally principle-led and not rules-led. This is the opposite to rules-based legalistic thinking. Remember, he is dialoguing with legalistic Jewish Christians, for whom there had to be a black and white rule for everything. While there are boundaries that must not be crossed, for example in terms of moral issues, Paul is telling us that not everything is a fundamental moral issue.
If anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean.
We must be led by our understanding of Scripture, according to whatever stage of growth we are at as followers of God, and guided by a Spirit-led conscience. That is what Paul means when he writes that “if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean.”
The other aspect of what Paul is saying is that we should respect the choices that others have made, even if they are different to our own. They stand in relationship to their own conscience, and not to ours. The Spirit of God leads us all through different journeys and at a different pace, according to our needs and his grace.
How does you thinking that something is “wrong” make it wrong for you to do it? Consider this carefully and reflect on your own journey of growth as a follower of Jesus. Have you changed in what you accept or do not accept in others and in yourself? What has prompted you to change?