Class Notes: 11/19/2008
Rom 14:1-5; The believer's function in the Royal Family Honor Code
Last time in our study of the mandates of the PPOG we had just begun a study of the imperative mood found in Rom 14:1; where the words translated "not for the purpose of passing judgment" is the second person present middle imperative of the Greek word "proslambano" plus the negative "me" that is a command not to judge.
The use of the Greek conjunction "de" that is translated "Now” in the NASB and often translated "But" connects this passage with the preceding verses that address the believer's use of the problem solving device of impersonal integrity love that is rooted in their personal love for God in dealing with other believers.
The form of the word translated "weak" is in the continuous present tense that indicates that the trouble that the weak believer has is not an inherent characteristic, but is a condition that they have been brought into by an external influence.
The one who is weak in faith is in that state because of their lack comprehension of the liberty that the believer receives when they believe in TLJC and are delivered from the bondage of the OSN and the Kosmic System and the legalism associated with attempting to establish themselves through a system of righteousness by works.
These passages are addressing the interactions believers under the Royal Family Honor Code.
All of the believer's activities and relationships are to be conducted in view of the imminence of the Exit resurrection or rapture of the Church and the believer's evaluation before TLJC immediately after that event.
The Christian faith is not a despotic system that demands adherence to a set of mandates in a long statement of doctrine. We saw last time that it is a system of walking by grace through faith. Col 2:6; Eph 2:8-9; as you received him "by grace through faith" so walk or conduct your spiritual life, " by grace through faith".
The believer's faith or knowledge of Bible Doctrine is progressive. So strong believers are obliged to tolerate the nonessential, inconsequential, and occasionally obnoxious opinions and actions of weak believers while they are in Bible Class for the purpose of learning Bible Doctrine.
All believers have never agreed on every point of doctrine and they never will completely agree on this side of eternity because we all have a finite ability to perceived things as they really are. 1 Cor 13:12;
This differentiation actually is for the purpose of approving those who persist in the PMA of Bible Doctrine and as a result are taught by God the Holy Spirit and they receive accurate understanding. 1Cor 11:19; Eph 4:13;
All believers do agree on the basic tenants of Christianity that states, that the Lord Jesus Christ is the second person of the Godhead, that, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, He became man in order to go to the cross and die as our substitute, and that he rose from the dead.
Church age believers are to have the widest latitude in religious observances, in diet and other things that are not specifically addressed in the New Testament epistles.
The members of the early Christian local assemblies were commanded to receive those who believed, and not to argue with them about unimportant matters.
If a vegetarian came into the church, the meat eaters were not to despise him, even though God states that this practice stems from spiritual weakness.
God wants us to understand that the church is made up of people with different opinions, and that one group is not to despise the opinions of the other.
The basis of Christian fellowship is life in union with TLJC, and PVTD not the amount of doctrine that someone has at any given moment. 1John 2:24;
Because of their personal love for and confidence in God believers are to have integrity love for others and from this integrity love comes the capacity for the toleration of other believers.
Believers are commanded not to argue or dispute. The church is not to be a place where there is a battle for a decision between opposing views and where the loser adopts the position of the winner of the argument.
God will bring to each a change of thinking in his time as long as the believer remains consistent and persistent in their PMA of Bible Doctrine.
God is not making robots that are all alike; He is making sons who have a free volition.
When we compare the phrase, "weak in the faith," with the phrase, "strong in the faith." There is no evidence that those who are described as "strong in the faith" are considered by God to be superior than those who are described as "weak in the faith,” Gal 3:26;
Both are Sons with equal privilege and equal opportunity before God in time.
God's provision in election and predestination provide equal privilege and opportunity for every believer to execute the plan of God.
Under the asset of election, the universal priesthood gives the believer equal privilege with every other Church Age believer Eph 1:4;
Every member of the royal family represents themselves before God in their equal privilege.
Also under election, logistical grace gives every Christian equal opportunity through life support, personal security, and the provisions necessary to learn Biblical truth.
Those who advance and those who do not are both blessed with logistical grace.
Under the asset of predestination, union with Christ gives every believer equal privilege at the moment of salvation Eph 1:5;
All Church Age believers have the same position in Christ through the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Gal 3:28;
Also under predestination, the Spiritual life gives every believer equal opportunity to advance by executing the PPOG. Each Church Age believer possesses his own operational Spiritual life.
The Spiritual life is the believer's royal palace, his magnificent but invisible seat of power. This equal privilege and equal opportunity for every Church Age believer in time, means inequality in the eternal state after the resurrection. 1Cor 15:40-42;
Each believer's volition is free to accept or reject the provisions of Divine sovereignty.
Some believers respond to Bible Doctrine, advance Spiritually, and become Spiritual winners. Others reject truth remain weak and become spiritual losers.
Believers who keep on using their privileges and opportunities and advance in the PPOG become winners those who do not, become losers.
Equal privilege and equal opportunity carry with them responsibility so in eternity there will be a big difference between those who became "strong in the faith" by PVTD and those who remained "weak in the faith" because of NVTD 1Cor 3:13-15;
Ultimately Truth is the essential; everything else, to a greater or lesser degree, is nonessential. John 8:31-32; John 17:17; Matt 24:35; 2Cor 13:8;
As a believer grows in the Word, the truth of Bible Doctrine corrects their opinions, with no need for unsolicited interference from other believers. 2Tim 2:7;
Toleration permits all believers to assemble and approach the Word of God with objectivity from humility.
As royal priests, representing themselves before the Lord, the immature have the privacy and freedom to grow, while the mature have continued opportunities to develop additional strength by learning flexibility.
The next mandate we will consider in our study is the one found in Rom 14:2-3; The mandate here is found in verse 3 where the words translated "not regard with contempt" is the present active imperative of the Greek word "exoutheneo" plus the negative "me" and the words translated "not judge" is the present active imperative of the Greek word "krino' plus the negative "me"
The issue being addressed here is the principle of live and let live and the privacy of the priesthood that is found in the Royal Family Honor Code.
The new believer who is positive toward truth can become over-zealous; and become inclined to judge and malign those who do not quite fit his idea of what a Christian ought to be.
The danger for weak believers is that they will judge the strong believer who is living in the freedom of the spiritual life. They may also take offence to the things the strong believer does.
They don't know it, but in this case the believers who are being criticized are much more mature and as a result they have outgrown their background prejudices, pseudo-taboos, and hang-ups.
For the immature believer, therefore, the honor code focuses on the privacy of the priesthood and says, "Do not malign." Tit 3:2-3;
The mature believer under attack by an immature believer faces a different problem. His tendency is not to malign but to be intolerant.
He may be tempted to try to straighten out the new believer but the Honor Code requires him to tolerate the weaker brother and to be flexible in the nonessentials.
Strong believers are required to be thoughtful and considerate. They are not to shake the weak believer's still fragile confidence nor dampen their enthusiasm and they are not to use their own freedom to shock the new believer.
If one of the strong believer's normal and legitimate functions in life offends the weak believer, the code says, Do not practice it in his presence. Be discreet. Do not flaunt your freedom in front of those who are shocked and do not yet know how to use their freedom in Christ."
This is the law of love that is described in 1Cor 8:13;
In contrast, the law of liberty, 1Cor 8:9; applies especially to new believers who, through the PMA of Biblical Truth, are just beginning to shake off the taboos of legalism.
The law of love establishes a greater responsibility on those who are more mature because the honor code demands more of the strong than of the weak.
The strong or more mature believers are obligated under the honor code to keep bearing the weaknesses of the weak and not to just accommodate themselves. Rom 15:1;
Mature believers can be flexible because of the confidence in God and because they know that in due time, the continued intake of Truth will automatically bring the immature believer into line with the Truth.
All the mature believer must do when faced with an overzealous, under-taught, new believer is to recall how many people had to tolerate them while they grew up.
Truth is the answer, but no one learns everything at once. Flexibility in the nonessentials means toleration. Toleration means live and let live. 1Thes 4:11;
Toleration under the honor code means live and let live as unto the Lord.
The next imperative mood we will examine is in Rom 14:5; Where the words translated "fully convinced" is the third person singular present passive imperative of the Greek word "plerophoreo" that means to be completely convinced, fully assured or persuaded.
The passive voice indicates that the believer has come to the conclusion as a result of their PMA of Bible Doctrine under the teaching ministry of God the Holy Spirit.
The believer has become personally convinced from metabolized Bible Doctrine.
Faith must be personal. Believer's cannot operate in someone else's faith. Rom 14:23;
God the Holy Spirit is working in believers and advancing their faith Phil 2:12-13;
While he is working we are not to judge, but we must remember that we will all be judged Rom 14:10-13;
Paul gave Timothy the space to draw his own conclusions from his teaching. 2Tim 2:7;
It is the believer's spiritual life that is sacred, not "Holy days". It is the spiritual life that is holy, not food or drink.
Believers, who understand what is written here, have liberty to eat whatever they wish whenever they wish. They have the freedom to set aside a day for special observance or not.
The person who eats is not to look with disdain on the one who does not, and the one who refrains is not to condemn the one who eats.
In both cases, God has accepted them.
Christ is every believer's master, and another believer has no right to judge another's servant, as though the other's servant could fall on their verdict.
It is before Christ who is the believer's master that the believer stands or falls, and the believer who is Christ's servant will stand, for his Lord is able to make him stand. Phil 1:6;
Believers are to examine their own thinking in light of Bible Doctrine to be sure they are doing what Lord would have him do.
Then they are to hold their opinion "as to the Lord".
This is true for any issue where an honest differences of opinion among believers exists, whether in keeping or not keeping special days or eating or abstaining from certain foods, or in other matters not specifically prohibited or mandated by Scripture that has been accurately handled. 2Tim 2:15;
All belongs to the Lord and is sanctioned by Him 1Cor 10:25-27; 1Tim 4:3-5;
Every believer is individually accountable to the Lord and will give an account in every area and experience of life. Rom 14:12;
In life and death every believer is seen by the Lord, and is accountable to Him, not to other believers. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
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