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Romans 14.13b-The Strong Must Determine Not To Put An Obstacle Or Temptation In The Life Of His Weak Brother That Could Cause Them To Sin

Romans Chapter Fourteen  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:08:22
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Romans: Romans 14:13b-The Strong Believer Must Determine Not To Place An Obstacle Or Temptation In the Life Of Their Weak Brother That Could Cause Them To Sin-Lesson # 478

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Wenstrom Bible Ministries

Pastor-Teacher Bill Wenstrom

Sunday March 28, 2010

www.wenstrom.org

Romans: Romans 14:13b-The Strong Believer Must Determine Not To Place An Obstacle Or Temptation In the Life Of Their Weak Brother That Could Cause Them To Sin

Lesson # 478

Please turn in your Bibles to Romans 14:13.

This past Wednesday we began our study of Romans 14:13by noting Paul exhorting both the weak and the strong in Rome to unite with him in continuing to make it a habit of never ever condemning each other with regards to non-essentials.

This morning, we will note Paul commanding the strong that they must determine to never put an obstacle or temptation in the life of their weak brother that could cause them to sin in their own minds.

Romans 14:13, “Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this -- not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother's way.”

“But rather” is composed of the adversative use of the conjunction alla (ἀλλά) (ah-lah), “but” and the comparative adverb mallon (μᾶλλον) (mah-loan), “rather.”

Together, these two words, alla and mallon, emphasize with Paul’s readers who are strong with respect to conviction to choose an alternative that is totally and completely antithetical to the idea of condemning their weak brothers for their convictions.

“Determine” is the second person plural aorist active imperative form of the verb krino (κρίνω) (kree-no), which means, “determine” and is used in a play on the first usage of the word in this passage and is used of the strong believer since Paul’s teaching in Romans 14:13-16 is addressed to the strong.

This is indicated by the fact that his teaching in these verses prohibits believers from abusing their freedom in Christ by putting an obstacle or a stumbling block in the way of their fellow believer, which would hurt them who do not have the same conviction that nothing is unclean in itself as Paul affirmed in verse 14 is the case.

This verb emphasizes with Paul’s readers who were strong with respect to conviction to give careful thought to how they conduct themselves with their weaker brothers and decide on a course of action that will be beneficial to them.

The second person plural form of the verb signals that he is addressing a specific group among his readers, namely those who are strong with respect to conviction.

Romans 14:14-23 makes clear that the second person plural form of krino is referring to those believers who are strong with respect to conviction and do not observe the dietary regulations of the Law since they are fully convinced by the Spirit that Christ is the substance of these things (cf. Colossians 2:16-23).

The aorist imperative form of the verb krino is a “constative aorist imperative” indicating that Paul is “solemnly charging” the strong believers in Rome “to make it their top priority” to not put an obstacle or a stumbling block in the way of their weak brother “and do it now!”

Paul’s statements in Romans 15:14-15 indicate that the Roman believers who were strong were doing this very thing.

“Not to put” is composed of the negative particle me (mhv) (me), “not” and the neuter singular form of the definite article ho (o() (ho) and the present active infinitive form of the verb tithemi (τίθημι) (teeth-ah-mee), “to put.”

In Romans 14:13, the verb tithemi means “to place, put” and refers to an action performed by the strong Christian that could cause the weak Christian to sin against his conscience and eat non-kosher foods even though his conscience still tells them it is wrong to do so.

The verb’s meaning is negated by the particle me, “not” and together they form a prohibition that is designed to prevent the strong Christian in the future from placing an obstacle or a stumbling block in the path of his weak brother that could cause the weak brother to go against his convictions and sin in his own mind.

Paul employs me and not ouk since the latter is much stronger than the former and would indicate that his readers who were strong in their convictions were in fact placing an obstacle or a stumbling block in the path of those who were weak in their conviction.

The present tense of the verb krino is a “customary” present indicating that Paul is exhorting his strong readers in Rome “to continue making it a habit of” not putting an obstacle or a stumbling block in the path of a brother who is weak with respect to conviction.

“An obstacle or a stumbling block” is composed of the accusative neuter singular form of the noun proskomma (πρόσκομμα) (prose-kah-mah), “an obstacle” and the “particle of separation” e (&) (ee), “or” and the accusative neuter singular form of the noun skandalon (σκάνδαλον) (skan-dah-loan), “a stumbling block.”

Proskomma speaks of the obstacle itself that causes someone to sin but skandalon speaks of the obstacle from the perspective that it tempts the person to commit sin.

This is indicated by the fact that the former is an obstacle in the way when the foot strikes it the person stumbles whereas the latter refer strictly to the bait stick of a trap; when an animal or bird strikes it this triggers off the mechanism that produces entrapment. (See Morris, page 486).

Both refer to the word or action that causes the weak to sin against his conscience but proskomma only speaks of it as an obstacle, skandalon speaks of the word or action as a temptation to sin.

The idea with skandalon is not that the strong believer is intentionally trying to cause his weak brother to sin but rather that the strong believer’s word or action in and of itself tempts the weak believer into going against his convictions and thus causing him to sin in his own mind.

The word or action on the part of the strong believer is unintentional since he is not taking into consideration the weak believer’s convictions since Paul is implying that the strong believer must be aware of his actions in relation to the weak who don’t hold the same convictions that he does.

“In a brother’s way” is the articular dative masculine singular form of the noun adelphos (ἀδελφός) (ah-thel-foce), which once again means “fellow-believer, fellow-Christian, spiritual brother or sister.”

This word emphasizes with the strong Christian that his fellow weak believer who does observe the dietary restrictions of the Law and does honor the special days in the Law is a son of God is like them (cf. Jn. 1:12-13; Gal. 3:26-28).

The noun adelphos functions as a dative locative of place or sphere indicating that Paul is commanding the strong to not place an obstacle or temptation “in” the life of your weak brother that would cause them to sin in their own minds.

To summarize, in Romans 14:13 Paul draws an inference from his previous statement in Romans 14:12 that each and every believer will be required to give an account to the Lord at the Bema Seat of his service and stewardship to determine if they merit a reward or not.

In this inferential statement he exhorts both the weak and the strong to continue making it a habit of never ever condemning one another for each other’s convictions with respect to non-essentials such as dietary regulation of the Law and observance of special days under the Law such as the Sabbath.

Both the strong and the weak believer must never condemn each other for their convictions with regards to non-essentials since both will have to give an account to the Lord for their service and stewardship.

Then, Paul solemnly charges the strong believers to make it a top priority in their lives to determine to continue making it a habit of not placing an obstacle or a temptation in the life of their weak brother which could cause them to sin in their own minds.

This command stands in direct contrast with the previous inferential statement and emphasizes that for the strong believer, to not place an obstacle or a temptation that causes their weak brother to sin is totally and completely antithetical to the idea of condemning the weak brother for the convictions with regards to non-essentials.

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