(Vs. 10) "Why do you judge your brother?" These words are spoken to the man who thinks it is wrong to eat things prohibited by the Law, who still keeps holy days. He is asked why he takes it upon himself to judge and condemn the brother who differs from him.
"Why do you set at nought your brother?" These words are to the strong in faith and Christian libertyto him who is apt to be puffed up with his superior knowledge and to look down on the weaker one.
CHRIST ALONE IS OUR JUDGE. To judge one another and to despise one another because of differences not only reveals lack of understanding and love but invades the area of Christ's Lordship. Each Christian is to follow the Lord, for Christ alone is the final authority on what is right and what is wrong for a believer.
(Vs. 11) This passage is from Isaiah 45:23. It is by Christ that ALL men shall be judged (John 5:22; Phil. 2:10). Neither we, nor our creeds, nor our laws, nor our religious organizations are the judges of believers or unbelievers. Christ is the sole Master and Judge!
(Vs. 12) "So then." The apostle concludes that every individual is answerable to Jesus Christbelievers and unbelievers! Though our sins are blotted out by the blood, we shall not indulge in sin; for we are accountable to our Master for our conduct and stewardship; and our desire is to glorify Him, be a good witness, and keep His commandments.
(Vs. 13) This is the conclusion: let's don't set ourselves up as critics and judges of the conduct and lives of other believers. Let's don't spend our time finding fault with one another, picking out weaknesses, and exaggerating differences of opinions and practices; but rather, let us spend our time endeavoring to help one another and to avoid doing and saying things that may cause another to stumble. We can do this by making our fellowship to be in Christ (not in form), by loving one another in spite of differences, and by avoiding collisions on the points where we differ.
(Vs. 14-15) This is not a private opinion, but I have been taught by the Lord Jesus that our relationship with God and our spiritual condition is not determined by meats and drinks or what goes in the mouth (Matt. 15:11-19). But if a person eats or drinks or does what he THINKS is forbidden by God, he is guilty with respect to God as really as if the thing were forbidden. Teach a man liberty, but don't encourage him to violate his conscience.
Example: if meat offered to idols is available to you and you see no harm in eating it, DON'T EAT IT IF YOU ARE IN THE COMPANY OF A BROTHER WHO WILL BE OFFENDED. Don't destroy his confidence in you and his fellowship with you just for the sake of appetite. You can do without it.
(Vs. 16) It is good to be free from form and pharisaism. It is good to have the liberty and peace of Christ, but be careful to use it in such a way that it does not offend and become the occasion for division among the people of God.
(Vs. 17-18) Men are so prone to cling to the externals in religious worship (I Tim. 4:1-4). These things have nothing to do with eternal life. But the RIGHTEOUSNESS of Christ (imputed and imparted), the JOY communicated by the presence of the Holy Spirit, and the PEACE purchased by His blood have everything to do with eternal life.
He that in these things (righteousness, joy, and peace) serves Christ and is a bondslave of Jesus Christ is accepted in the Beloved and approved by those who know God. True believers recognize true godliness.
(Vs. 19-21) Let us emphasize and dwell upon these things that bring us together in fellowship and avoid those things which divide. Let us preach, practice, and discuss those things that build up and strengthen men in faith.
If you have liberty in regard to things indifferent, yet you have brothers who are offended, then leave it off! His fellowship is worth more than these things.
(Vs. 22) If a man is not bound by superstition, holy days, meats and drinks, rituals and ceremonies, but finds his joy, righteousness, and peace only in Christ, he is a happy and contented man (Gal. 2:20-21).
(Vs. 23) But the man to whom the full extent of Christian liberty has not been revealed must walk in the light he has. The word "damned" is not eternal condemnation but disfavor. Whatever we do must be done with the conviction that it is agreeable to the will of God. This applies not only to meats and drinks but to all things.