Romans 14:1–12 (ESV)
Do Not Pass Judgment on One Another
14 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. 2 One person believes he may eat anything, while
the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. 4 Who
are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the day, observes
it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and none
of us dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ
died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother?
Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11 for it is written,
I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall confess to God.”
12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
Old Testament food and festival laws
had been significant religious issues, but Christ freed us to observe or not to observe them. Christians may judge the conduct of others only on the basis of God’s Word. We should not go beyond it and pronounce judgment in matters of Christian freedom.
Those who do so wound other believers and will have to account for such behavior before God Himself. In Baptism, we were joined with Christ and one another. Not even death can sever that bond.
I pray: In life and in death, O Lord, You promise to abide with me. Thank You for the assurance that I am Yours both now and for eternity. Teach us to speak according to Your Word, but to remain silent where Your Word grants freedom. Amen.
Edward A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible
(St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 1938.