conscience and the kingdom of God

Romans 14:1-12
For Sunday September 14, 2008
Proper 19

How should we handle disagreements about what is appropriate behavior for Christians in terms of social conduct? One Christian thinks drinking alcohol is a terrible sin while another might think it is perfectly fine. One Christian might think the Sabbath should be strictly observed while another might think the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.

There are wonderful words of wisdom for us in this chapter whether our consciences are of the strong or the weak variety. Mine tends to be of the strong variety. It’s therefore important for me to keep v. 15 firmly in view: “If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died.

For the consciences of the weak variety, v. 17 might be an appropriate touchstone: “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Let us today listen to our consciences and live in accordance with them that we would experience the righteousness, peace, and joy which is ours in the gospel.


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