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Living for Him

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Why is it wrong for weak and strong to be condemning one another? Paul reminds them, all Christians are fellow slaves. We all serve one master, one “Lord”— Jesus Christ (v. 4). Whether we stand or fall is up to Christ, not our fellow Christians. So what is important is that every believer behave with integrity. Each one should be convinced in his/her own mind (v. 5) and should do whatever he or she decides to do in honor of the Lord and in accordance with his will (v. 6). Everything that we do takes place before the Lord. There are no “neutral” areas of life; there is nothing we do or say or think that the Lord is not unconcerned about. Death itself takes place in light of the Lord (vv. 7-8). Christ died and was raised precisely so that he might be the Lord of both “the dead and the living” (v. 9). All this means, to return to where Paul begins this paragraph, that we should not condemn each other over the observance of sacred days and whether they eat meat or not (Moo, Encountering the Book of Romans, Baker Academic, 2002, 195-196.)

Verse 4

Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? (or “Who do you think you are?) The rhetorical question reveals the heart of Paul’s concern.

         · master (secular use, lord), Paul expects his readers to see an allusion to their

                  ultimate Lord

        · slave (oiketes) lit. a house slave/servant; domestic servant

        · stand, approval, stand in favor with

        · fall, disapproval, fall out of favor with

It is the Lord, not the fellow Christian, whom the believer must please and who will ultimately determine the acceptability of the believer and his/her conduct.

The believer whose behavior is being judged will “stand, for the Lord is able to cause him to stand.” The Lord, probably refers to Christ. Paul expresses confidence that the “strong” believer will persist in the Lord’s favor. The “weak” believer will not attain the Lord’s approval by following rules (pertaining to food). But by the Lord’s own sustaining power. He is able!

A believer’s personal assessment of other believers does not in the least affect their standing before the Lord (1 Cor. 4:3-5).

Verse 5

Evaluation of days

        · The weak believer was judging one day to be more important than another day

            (OT law, festivals, fasting, Sabbath).

        · The strong believer was judging each day to be the same.

Paul exhorts each believer to be thoroughly convinced in his own mind.

Mind = heart and conscience

Before God, it is not a matter of observance or nonobservance but of intent.

Verse 6

Observe, first, the weak; second, the strong

Whatever the believer does, he does it for the Lord, for His benefit.

The believer that eats vegetables and observes certain days, honors the Lord. The believer that eats everything and treasures everyday glorifies God.

To go along with what others do simply because they do it and without being convinced for oneself can be a dangerous practice.

7-9, We are the Lord’s: We belong to Him: Those who belong to Him now will still belong to Him in the future, forever, beyond death.


Verse 7, Lives, Dies

Verse 8, Live, Live, Die, Die, Live, Die

Verse 9, Died, (Lives), Dead, Living

Verse 7

Paul is saying that all believers live out their lives accountable to God. Decisions about such matters as special days and eating meat are not made in isolation but in accordance with the will of God as understood by the individual.

“The expression ‘live to oneself’ is used both in Greek and in Latin of living selfishly, caring only for one’s own interest and comfort” (Cranfield, Romans 9-16, 707, footnote 3).

Plutarch, the late first and early second century Greek biographer, declared that it is “a disgraceful thing to live and die for ourselves alone” (Ibid.)

Paul lays down the great fact that it is impossible in the nature of things to live an isolated life. There is no such thing in this world as a completely detached individual… No man can disentangle himself either from his fellow man or from God.

Paul’s thought is that neither in life nor in death can we escape the fact that what we do and are we do and are before God… It is God, and not self, that is important ultimately; to concentrate on self is to neglect our Maker and to sin against Him.

Nothing at all that a Christian does is done with reference to himself alone or for his own benefit. The implicit comparison is not with other human beings, but rather, as the context makes clear,, the comparison is with the Lord.

Verse 8

If we live, we live to the Lord and if we die, we die to the Lord.

How do we live to the Lord? All parts of the believer’s lives are to be carried out with a view to what pleases and glorifies the Lord.

Die to the Lord (physical death)? The circumstances of the believer’s death are determined not by his will or in consideration of his own interests, but are wholly in the hands of the Lord, who sets the time for death in accordance with His own interests and purposes.

When Paul says, “We die to the Lord,” he is saying that we pass from one form of service to God to another form of service to God. Alive or dead, we are the Lord’s.

Verse 9

Divine purpose:

        # That He might become the Lord… (ingressive aorist)

        # However, He already is eternally Lord.

As Christians, we are to live for Christ and not for ourselves.

2 Corinthians 5:15

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