A Matter of Peace – Henry Abrahams
When going about your business in Fall 2021 you see signs or placards that recommend or mandate patrons to “Mask Up.” Others might say something like this, “Fully vaccinated patrons can enter without a mask.” This sort of division within a culture is not new to the Church.
In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he is addressing cultural divisions among Jewish and Gentile followers of Jesus Christ. Here is a quick view of what Paul most likely had in mind.
- Jewish followers’ observance of the law would set them apart from the surrounding Roman gentiles.
- Gentiles would look down on Jews for this observance. For example. If a Gentile believer would prepare meat for his local church gathering and the meat would not be properly strangled, the Jewish follower would abstain from the meal. (Rom. 14:3)
- Jewish followers of Jesus would observe the sabbath (Gen 2:2-3) and Roman gentile followers would probably view their Jewish brethren as lazy for taking a day off (Rom. 14:5-6).
With this in mind, we need to heed what Paul is teaching here, “One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.” (Rom. 14:5b-6).
Using the principle that is extracted here, we as modern believers should be convinced in our mind that what we are doing “mask” or “no mask”, “vaccinated” or “not vaccinated” is done in honor of the Lord.
The rest of Romans Fourteen deals with how we should not make another believer stumble in the way they believe they are honoring the Lord. “Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.” (Rom. 14:13). You already know what this looks like in your life. Once you acknowledge it, repent and move forward with Jesus.
As we conclude this blog I want to encourage you to read through the whole of Romans Fourteen. Paul’s concluding words should adjust your view on how you handle our “cultural divisions.”
“The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” (Rom. 14:22b-23).
“Paul’s point is that one should not wound the faith of those avoiding what they think could be wrong; ideally, however, one should discern what is right.” – Craig Keener