Romans 14:13–23 (ESV)
Do Not Cause Another to Stumble
13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 14 I
know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. 15 For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you
eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. 16 So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness
and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21 It
is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. 22 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what
he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
Paul continues to deal specifically with first-century controversial issues among Jewish and Gentile Christians (foods and holy days). Paul knows all foods are clean, but flaunting his freedoms will give offense in the presence of Jewish Christians
who still observe OT food laws. In a similar manner, we should not engage in behaviors that would cause other believers to stumble in their faith. When we commit actions against our own Spirit-informed Christian conscience, we sin. Freedom in Christ is not
simply freedom from the Law, but freedom given for a purpose, to serve others in love (Gal 5:13). God’s kingdom (14:17) has been given to us through Jesus Christ and by the Holy Spirit.
I pray: Father, thank You for the freedom You give me in the kingdom of Your Son, Jesus. May I enjoy my freedom by using it to serve others. Show me when I ought to limit my freedom for the benefit of my brothers and sisters in the faith. Amen.
Edward A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran
Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 1938–1939.