"Love does no wrong to a brother therefore love is the fulfilment of the law." – Romans 13:10
What do you do when you are at liberty to do something you know is right by you but it might offend a fellow believer or cause them to question their faith or stumble?
What is our responsibility in Christ to keep a brother or sister in Christ from stumbling?
What does it mean not to make another to stumble?
As we look through the chapter of Romans 14 we find that we could make someone else to stumble when we, through our actions place something in front of a believer that causes them to feel condemned before God. We are placing a stumbling block in their path when we cause them to question, to have doubts before God. Scripture says, whatever is not done in faith is sin. (Romans 14:23)
Romans 14, is where we find this intersection between love and righteousness.
How those of a strong faith are to conduct themselves amongst the weak.
The instruction is that we are to have the same attitude of mind that Jesus had.
Romans 15:1 reads, “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbour for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself,”
Placing others needs above our own, helps us to avoid falling into pits of legalism and self-righteousness.
This is such an easy pit to fall into and this is some of what Paul is addressing here in Romans 14
It is impossible to walk in legalism and in love at the same time.
Love is being fully resolved to do what is right irrespective of one's own emotions and circumstances while legalism can be looked at as being fully resolved to do what is right irrespective of other's emotions and circumstances.
Legalism often makes a show of doing what is right under a set of preconceived, established and immoveable rules.
The Pharisees and teachers of the law were always against Jesus healing on the Sabbath. They sought to maintain the observance of a law over the life of another. Hoping to catch him in error against established standards some of which were their own human traditions. (Luke 11:44, Matthew 22:15).
Paul says, make up your minds, be committed, be fully resolved not to put a stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. We are all living for God, and wether we live or die it is for him. Our focus should be on what the Kingdom of God is really about, and that is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost and not eating and drinking. (Romans 14:13)
Anything that could cause another to stumble is not worth doing as it destroys the work of God.
“ You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” - Galatians 5:15
We are to use our freedom to watch out for each other, to put others best interests above our own. The goal is love, mutual edification, choosing to please our neighbours above ourselves. It's better to love than to be right. When we endure suffering, choosing others above ourselves in small ways and big ways, love then becomes both the action and resulting fruit of our choices. Love is the food and the fuel by which the body of Christ grows.
Ephesians 4:15 reads, “ Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
Love does no harm to another, love does not place a stumbling block before a brother, love is the fulfilment of the law. Choose love.
Listen to this full message here : Choosing Love.