Throughout the history of the church, as various false doctrines and hobbies have arisen, there is usually a passage or two that takes a terrible beating at the hands of those who are in deviation from the Truth. Basic to this point is the idea that false men will always seek to make the word fit their own particular views! In thus “forcing” such, they abuse the Word. Presently, Romans 14 is being subjected to the worst kind of mishandling and abuse, and saddest of all, from those who claim to honor God’s Word as it is, the all sufficient guide for us (2 Tim. 3:16-17). As to Romans 14, we’ve said, “Careful how you use it!” That, of course, would be a proper warning concerning all of the Word.
We are charged with rightly dividing (handling aright) the Word (2 Tim. 2:15). It is a mark of the false teacher to handle the Word of God deceitfully (2 Cor. 4:2). Our object must be to teach the Truth, and all the Truth, and nothing but the Truth and in all conceivable circumstances.
In Romans 14, we find the apostle Paul dealing with two matters of liberty—eating of herbs and esteeming the days—and in assuring that each man is allowed the liberty God gave him, there is constant care given to the point of not judging a brother in these, allowing liberty, walking in love, following a peaceful course, edifying one another and giving no offense. But we see Romans 14 so abused today when it comes to the fellowship some propose for the church of the Lord and denominational bodies, with the approval in mind as regards blessing the use of mechanical instruments of music in worship. Romans 14 is thus abused in these ways:
(1) Paul is speaking of those who are brethren together in the Lord, and those in sectarianism are not contemplated at all. These in Romans 14 were members of the body of Christ, and more, in the congregation at Rome.
(2) The matters under discussion were matters of judgment and liberty and did not center on positions of doctrine, and as regards worship, etc.
(3) The emphasis on god’s being judge, and a man’s standing right before his God, even if other men did not follow his course, again centered on these items of liberty and freedom, and were not matters of faith and doctrine.
Have we come to this, that men no longer care to note the Bible passage, its context, its subject, and especially do they no longer care whether a context is speaking of matters of faith or matters of liberty? We must care, if we are to be faithful to the Word of God!