Thursday, September 10, 2009

Murray on Romans 14:1-12

Intro: it is necessary to be less positive about the problem Paul addresses, than some exegetes have been. It may have been that various types of weakness proceeding from different backgrounds and influences were represented in that situation which Paul imagined. This passage deals with the question of the weak and the strong in a way that applies to every instance in which religious scrupulosity arises in connection with such things as those exemplified in this chapter (174)

I. vv1-3
A. v1 accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions…. Accept…this exhortation is directed to those who are not in themselves in the category of the weak and therefore of those who were strong in faith. The implication appears to be that the weak were in the minority. Accept means that there is no discrimination in respect of confidence, esteem, and affection (175). Passing judgment on his opinions…the acceptance of the weak is not to be for the purpose fanning the flames of dissension respecting difference of conviction on the matters in question. They are not to receive the weak for the purpose of subjecting their opinions to censure (175).
B. v2 one person eats vegetables only...we have meat eaters vs. vegetarians
C. v3 for God has accepted him…reference is to God’s reception of the strong. The wrong of censorious judgment is rebuked. If the conduct in question is no bar to God’s acceptance, it is iniquity for us to condemn that which God approves. By so doing we presume to be holier than God.
II. V4
A. in this verse the wrong of censorious judgment on the part of the weak is exposed by showing the intrusive presumption that it involves. The Lord in this case is the Lord Christ and what is affirmed is the certitude of the believer’s standing firm in the service of Christ (176).
B. Stand…in the sphere of ordinary domestic relations the servant of another is not to be judged by our norms but by those of his own master. He stands well or ill according to the judgment of his master. Likewise in the believer’s relation to Christ it is Christ’s judgment that is paramount, not ours. There is no warrant to suppose that this here refers exclusively to the last judgment. The issue of standing refers to the judgments on the part of the weak toward the strong. The weak tended to regard the exercise of liberty on the part of the strong as falling down in their devotion to Christ and as therefore subjecting them to the Lord’s disapproval. Paul’s assurance is to be regarded as having reference to the standing of the strong believer and of his conduct in the approbation of the Lord Christ. He will stand and the reason is given: the power of the Savior is the guarantee of his steadfastness (177).
III. Vv5-6
A. v5 the most reasonable view is that the weak viewed the holy days of the ceremonial economy as having abiding sanctity. The strong treated every day the same. The person who esteems every day alike, not regarding particular days as having peculiar religious significance, is recognized as rightfully holding this position. Hence it is the person esteeming one day above another who is weak in faith. Be fully convinced…the injunction to be fully assured in one’s own mind refers not simply to the right of private judgment but to the demand. Compelled conformity or pressure exerted to the end of securing conformity defeats the aims to which all the exhortations and reproofs are directed (178).
B. v6 for the Lord…expresses the religious conviction, namely, conscience toward the Lord out of regard for which the diverse practices are followed. Proof that the strong believer eats to the Lord is derived from the fact that he gives thanks to God. The thought is that thanksgiving implies gratitude to God. This state of mind carries with it the conviction that he eats to the Lord. he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat… The consciousness of devotion to the Lord is also true of the weak believer in his abstinence from certain foods. There is no undervaluation of the weak believer. He is credited with an equal sense of devotion to Christ, and he likewise gives thanks (179). gives thanks to God…should be taken as referring to the thanks he offers for that of which he does partake. This thanksgiving is likewise a manifestation of his sense of obligation to God and devotion to Christ (179).
IV. vv7-8
A. in these two verses it is the principle regulating and controlling the believer’s subjective attitude that is in view, the disposition of subservience, obedience, devotion to the Lord. It indicates that the guiding aim of the believer is to be well-pleasing to the Lord (180).
B. The lordship of Christ in his mediatorial capacity is as inclusive and pervasive as is the sovereignty of God (Matt. 11:27; 28:18; John 3:35; 5:23; Acts 2:36; Eph. 1:20-22; Phil. 2:9-11).
C. V8 the transformed attitude to death, springs not from any change in the character of death but from the faith of what Christ has done to death and from the living hope of what he will do in the consummation of his conquest (181). It is the hope of resurrection after the pattern of his, and the removal of sin which is the sting of death that transform the relation of the believer to death (182).
V. v9 this verse harks back to the latter part of v8 and states the ground upon which rests the lordship of possession just enunciated. Observations about the lordship of Christ: 1) the lordship of Christ here dealt with did not belong to Christ by native right as the Son of God; it had to be secured. It is the reward of his humiliation (Acts 2:36; Rom. 8:34; Phil. 2:9-11); 2) it is to the end of securing and exercising this lordship that he died and lived. Lived refers to his resurrection (182). It is by the life which Jesus lives in his resurrection power that believers live unto the Lord (183).
VI. vv10-12
A. Paul returns to the thought of v3. Now we have the interrogative address which points up the presumption of judging or despising a brother (183). The sin resided in the assumption to ourselves of prerogatives that belong only to Christ and to God (184). The reproofs of v10 draw their force directly from the appeal to God’s judgment seat as the end of the verse. That all will stand before the judgment seat of God offers the severest kind of rebuke to the impiety of our sitting in judgment upon others whether that be in the form of censorious condemnation or haughty contempt (184).
B. In the present text he is addressing believers and therefore of believers it is said “we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.” (cf. 2Cor. 5:10). These two texts place beyond all dispute the certainty of future judgment for believers. It is of the behavior of believers that Paul is here speaking and it is for the correction of wrong behavior that the fact of God’s future judgment is adduced. Conduct will be judged. This judgment embraces not only all persons, but also all deeds.
C. Support for this assertion is derived from Isa. 45:23. The refrain of this chapter in Isaiah is that the Lord is God and there is none else (vv5-7,14,18,21,22). This is directly germane to the fact of judgment.
D. Reluctance to entertain the reality of this universal and all-inclusive judgment springs from preoccupation with what is conceived to be the comfort and joy of believers at the coming of Christ rather than with the interests and demands of God’s glory. There will be no abatement of the believer’s joy, because it is in the perspective of this full disclosure that the vindication of God’s glory in his salvation will be fully manifest. It is to God each will render account, not to men. It is concerning himself he will give account, not on behalf of another. So the thought is of judging ourselves now in the light of the account which will be given ultimately to God. We judge ourselves rather than sit in judgment of others (185).

No comments: