4?8 THE KING’S BUSINESS LESSON VI.—November 9. —A bstinence eor the S ake of O thers .— Rom. 14:7-21. THE WORLD’S TEMPERANCE LESSON. G olden T ext .— It is good not to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor to do anything whereby thy brother stumbleth. —Rom. 14:21
whole chapter). Everything God has made is good (1 Tim. 4:4). The Mosaic dis tinctions of things clean and unclean were for cultivating the sense of moral distinc tions (Gal. 3:24), and leading to the only real, the spiritual. 3, The Principles Involved. Underlying Paul’s recommendation on the question in dispute is the great principle of Christian forebearance, charity, and self-denial. That while we should hold uncompromisingly to truth (e. g., that we are saved by grace alone, apart from all works and forms), and never yield when that is in question, whatever the consequences (Gal. 2:1-5, 11- 16), we should in things indifferent con sider the feelings of others, and yield our preferences and prejudices for their sake. (1) It may be a matter of conscience with them; to persuade them to violate conscience would endanger their souls; and we should share their-guilt (v. 20 ; 1 Cor. 10:28, 29). (2) For us to practice what they deem sinful would lead them to question our sincerity and cause them grief (if they are true) because ^they love us and the good name of Christian (v. 15; 2 Cor. 2:4-6). ■ (3) It may be with them merely a mat ter of feeling. To set swine’s flesh before a Jewish- Christian, whose whole culture has led him to a distaste, or even disgust for it, would be a breach of Christian cour tesy, although he might admit that eating or abstaining was spiritually indifferent. On the other hand, in any of these cases, how exquisitely beautiful' that Christian charity that for the sake of another’s feel ings abstains, at the sacrifice of the liberty and the pleasures to which we are techni cally entitled. III. O ccasions for th e A pplication of th e P rinciple . 1. Our Denominational Differences.
I. T h e E pistle to th e R omans . Its Character. “The greatest treatise ever written.” . A treatise on the Gospel as “the power of God uhto salvation” (1:16), showing: (1) The need of it, (2) the way of it, (3) the grace of it—(a) stand ing before God, (b) fellowship with Christ, (c) sanctification in the Spirit, and (d) conduct toward others. The latter element supplies our lesson. II. A Q uestion of C onduct . 1. To Eat, or Not to Eat. The early Church was largely Jewish. Jewish believ ers, generally, held that Christians must observe the- laws of Moses. Moses for bade communion with idolaters; eating of blood, or of certain (ceremonially) unclean animals. Food .bought in gentile markets or served at gentile tables was liable to have been consecrated to idols, or not freed from blood, or to be of an “unclean” kind. Jewish Christians insisted that only “Kosh er” (see “Kosher,” on the signs of our Jewish butchers and Jewish eating houses) food should be eaten. Not so the Gentiles, save such as the Jews perverted. Sharp disputes arose. The Jews charged their gentile brethren with honoring idols, or, at least, of laxity; and they in turn, the Jewish with legalism and superstition. Dis cord and social separation followed. 2. Things Indifferent. Paul taught: (1) That Christ had freed us from all legal obligation (Rom. 6:14; 7:6), and urged that we should stand fast in that liberty (Gal. 5:1). He had been reared a strict Jew (Acts 26:5) and his liberality can be accounted for only by his true testimony that his teaching was from Christ Himself (Gal. 1:11, 12). (2)) That formal distinc tions are matters of indifference, which can neither make nor mar inward grace. If we eat not we are no better; if we eat we are no worse (1 Cor. 8 :8 ; read the
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