Q. Romans 14:21-23, “It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.
I understand most of this chapter up until verse 21. Please explain the rest for me.
A. In Paul’s day there were many pagan temples, and when they sacrificed animals to their gods they would sell the meat in their banquet halls to help support the temple. It was often cooked and served restaurant style in the Temple.
Some believers refused to eat the meat, fearing they would be worshiping idols by doing so, and therefore sinning. Others, more secure in their Christian faith, saw nothing wrong with it, because the pagan gods were just statues.
Paul also thought there was nothing wrong with it, but compared it with drinking in front of a struggling alcoholic. It presents an unnecessary temptation to someone who’s having a difficult time. He said that if you can handle it and don’t see anything wrong, that’s great. Eat the meat and drink the wine, but do it at home where you won’t tempt a weaker brother to sin.
Even though we have great freedom in Christ, we should always be especially careful not to either set a bad example for others, or cause someone struggling in their walk to be burdened unnecessarily.