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Romans 14:1-12 opened up the 16th lesson in Romans and we find chapter 14 begins with “receive”. The subject of this chapter runs all the way through Romans 15:7. There is a phrase that is contributed to Augustine, some have said it came from Wesley, but the quote goes something like this: “In essentials, unity. In nonessentials (of the Christian faith ), liberty. And in all other things, charity (or love).” Because there are some things that are essential (fundamental) to the Christian faith… We have got to believe there is one God and we have to believe He has revealed himself to us through the holy scriptures. We must believe the holy scriptures are inerrant. We have got to believe in His son who came to us through the virgin birth, that he lived his life without sin, was crucified and died, then rose again. These are things that Christians call essentials and they must have unity on these things. Nonessentials are the things that Christians may have leeway on and that is what Paul is speaking about in chapter 14. Who is weak in the faith? Verse one of chapter 14 says that you are to receive them. When Christians take different views on a nonessential topic, who is weak and who is strong? Both are weak because this leads to contradiction and disharmony. This is what Paul is speaking about in Romans 15:1. What happens when Christians don’t have unity? An example was given on the inerrancy of scripture. Paul is saying you should receive these things because God has received them. You have the privilege to receive these things because God has given you eternal life and forgiven you of all your sins, and with that, great liberty. Galatians 5:1 says “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” It is only the work of God in this liberty He has given us. As people get older, there are two things they have a propensity to: 1) The world is going to the devil (or to hell in a hand basket), and 2) the Lord is returning soon. Essentials pertain to who God Is,, what God has done, and what benevolence do I enjoy because of that. Paul makes a statement in Roman 15:20-21 where he says “Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation: But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.” The challenge is determining what is essential and nonessential within the Christian faith and who is going to decide it? Everyone of us is going to decide it. As Paul says in Philippians 2:12 “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Why is this important? Everyone of us is going to be held accountable to God.



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From the Study: Romans Study