Romans 14:15 – But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.
In this section of the book of Romans, the apostle is addressing those that are strong in the faith. Among other things, the strong are characterized as those that know, believe, esteem, and are persuaded by the Lord Jesus concerning the doctrine of how we are to walk and please God under grace. Having now a justified and sanctified position in Christ as a son/daughter and having learned the fundamental components of the Father’s love, the strong one is in a position to properly deal with his weaker brethren.
Contrary to his stronger brother, the weak one is in a vulnerable position because of what he does not yet understand. His conscience is easily offended and his lack of understanding concerning son-ship liberty in certain matters provides for him an opportunity to stumble and have the work of his edification destroyed before he has been necessarily established.
These edification differences are inevitable among the saints for a variety of reasons, and as they exist, they provide an opportunity for us to prove the will of God. It may be, however, that these opportunities are squandered. If the strong one has learned the truths of the doctrines of grace, yet has not been properly exercised in the use of the charity those doctrines design, the edification differences can easily become an opportunity for ungodliness. The strong one’s knowledge will puff him up. His self-will will manifest itself, and though he may be right in his understanding of the doctrine, his lack of charity in the use of it will be exposed. This is ungodliness, and this is what Paul would find fault with in the strong should he conduct himself in such a manner.
Knowledge is a wonderful thing. Knowledge of the Father’s will is an even better thing. Love that passeth knowledge and is able to use the knowledge aright for the accomplishment of the Father’s will is best.
The Father teaches us that we ought not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think. We ought to esteem our brother and to desire his good for edification. The charitable walk of the strong should be characterized by a desire to see his weaker brother increase more and more. Our knowledge should motivate us to bear infirmities for our brother’s sake and desire his furtherance of faith rather than the pleasing of ourselves. The goal of knowing the right doctrine is not so that we may use it as a club to destroy, but as a balm to heal, a gift to provide and a tool to lift up. The motivation behind our “right-ness” in the truth is not so that we may appear approved nor excuse ourselves with the extensiveness of our knowledge, but so that we might be armed with the Father’s mind, conduct ourselves in a manner consistent with His norms and standards, and labor together with Him in charity for an edification, glory end.
Let us not be motivated in the truth with a zeal that is born out of our flesh, but let us have our minds renewed in the truth and allow the Father’s charity to kindle a godly zeal in our inner man that is willing to be offered upon the sacrifice and service of [our brethren’s] faith. We must stand fast, but let us also walk charitably.