Romans 14:14
I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteems any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
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(14) I know, and am persuaded.—The Apostle clearly identifies himself with the less scrupulous party. For one of his intense penetration and grasp on the realities of things, any other position was impossible. But while these essential features in the Apostle’s character find the noblest expression, we cannot but note his attitude of gentle forbearance towards those whose faith is less deep and less robust than his own. This comes out especially in that pathetic and pregnant appeal, “Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.”

By the Lord Jesus.—Rather, in the Lord Jesus. A solemn form of asseveration. The Apostle is speaking from the very depths of his Christian consciousness as one who knows that he has himself put on the Spirit of Christ.

To him that esteemeth.—This would mean, in philosophical language, that the quality of uncleanness was not an objective property in the thing itself, but a subjective quality in the mind of the person regarding it as such. Still, this subjective quality is for the individual a real one, and should be treated as real. (Comp. Mark 7:15.)

Romans 14:14-16. I know — By the light of reason; and am persuaded — Or assured; by the Lord Jesus — Probably by a particular revelation from him; that there is nothing — No kind of meat; unclean of itself — Or unlawful under the gospel. But to him that esteemeth any thing unclean — That in his conscience accounts it to be so; it is unclean — How indifferent soever it is in itself: and he will contract guilt before God, by allowing himself in it, whether it be to indulge his own taste, or to engage the favour of others, while he hath this inward apprehension of its being unlawful. The reader must observe here, that things clean in themselves, that is, things naturally fit for food, might be made unclean by the positive command of God, as many sorts of food were to the Jews. To such of them as believed that command to be still in force, these kinds of food were really unclean, and could not be eaten without sin. But if thy brother — Thy weak fellow- Christian; be grieved — And thereby cast down, or prejudiced against the Christian society, of which thou art a member; with thy meat — By thine eating that kind of meat, which he judges unlawful to be eaten; or if he be prevailed on by thy example to do that, the lawfulness of which he questions, and thereby his conscience be wounded; now walkest thou not charitably — Tenderly and condescendingly to his infirmity, as charity requires. Destroy not him with thy meat — Be not thou an occasion of sin, condemnation, and wrath to him through thy meat, thy rash and unkind use of such meat as he thinks prohibited; for whom Christ died — Not only submitted to smaller instances of self-denial, but endured all the agonies of crucifixion: do not value thy meat more than Christ valued his life. Here we see that a person, for whom Christ died, may be destroyed; a sure proof that Christ died for all, even for those that perish everlastingly. Let not then your goods — Your Christian liberty, a good which belongs to you; be evil spoken of — Be blamed for being the occasion of so much mischief to your fellow-creatures and fellow-Christians.14:14-18 Christ deals gently with those who have true grace, though they are weak in it. Consider the design of Christ's death: also that drawing a soul to sin, threatens the destruction of that soul. Did Christ deny himself for our brethren, so as to die for them, and shall not we deny ourselves for them, so as to keep from any indulgence? We cannot hinder ungoverned tongues from speaking evil; but we must not give them any occasion. We must deny ourselves in many cases what we may lawfully do, when our doing it may hurt our good name. Our good often comes to be evil spoken of, because we use lawful things in an uncharitable and selfish manner. As we value the reputation of the good we profess and practise, let us seek that it may not be evil-spoken of. Righteousness, peace, and joy, are words that mean a great deal. As to God, our great concern is to appear before him justified by Christ's death, sanctified by the Spirit of his grace; for the righteous Lord loveth righteousness. As to our brethren, it is to live in peace, and love, and charity with them; following peace with all men. As to ourselves, it is joy in the Holy Ghost; that spiritual joy wrought by the blessed Spirit in the hearts of believers, which respects God as their reconciled Father, and heaven as their expected home. Regard to Christ in doing our duties, alone can make them acceptable. Those are most pleasing to God that are best pleased with him; and they abound most in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. They are approved by wise and good men; and the opinion of others is not to be regarded.I know - This is an admission made to the "Gentile" convert, who believed that it was lawful to partake of food of every kind. This the apostle concedes; and says he is fully apprized of this. But though he knew this, yet he goes on to say Romans 14:15, that it would be well to regard the conscientious scruples of others on the subject. It may be remarked here that the apostle Paul had formerly quite as many scruples as any of his brethren had then. But his views had been changed.

And am persuaded - Am convinced.

By the Lord Jesus - This does not mean by any "personal" instruction received from the Lord Jesus, but by all the knowledge which he had received by inspiration of the nature of the Christian religion. The gospel of Jesus had taught him that the rites of the Mosaic economy had been abolished, and among those rites were the rules respecting clean and unclean beasts, etc.

There is nothing unclean - Greek "common." This word was used by the Jews to denote what was "unclean," because, in their apprehension, whatever was partaken by the multitude, or all people, must be impure. Hence, the words "common" and "impure" are often used as expressing the same thing. It denotes what was forbidden by the laws of Moses.

To him that esteemeth ... - He makes it a matter of conscience. He regards certain meats as forbidden by God; and while he so regards them, it would be wrong for him to partake of them. Man may be in error, but it would not be proper for him to act in violation of what he "supposes" God requires.

14, 15. I know, and am persuaded by—or rather, "in"

the Lord Jesus—as "having the mind of Christ" (1Co 2:16).

that there is nothing unclean of itself—Hence it is that he calls those "the strong" who believed in the abolition of all ritual distinctions under the Gospel. (See Ac 10:15).

but—"save that"

to him that esteemeth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean—"and therefore, though you can eat of it with out sin, he cannot."

Here he obviates an objection. Some might say, they were thoroughly persuaded, that no meat was unclean in itself, and therefore they might, and would, use their liberty in eating any thing that was before them. To this the apostle answers, first, by way of concession; he grants what they say is true, and tells them, that for his own part he knew it full well, and was himself assured of it; and that he had this assurance from

the Lord Jesus; i.e. that he was instructed therein by his word and Spirit.

That there is nothing unclean of itself; i.e. that no meat was unclean in itself; it was not so in its own nature: see Genesis 1:31 9:3. Some creatures might be unwholesome, but none were in themselves unclean: to the Jews they were not unclean by nature, but by a positive law, which law was now antiquated and out of doors: see Colossians 2:16,17 1 Timothy 4:3,4.

But to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean: this he adds by way of restriction, that though no meat was unclean in itself, yet it was so to him that thought it to be unclean. If a man shall believe that there is yet a difference in meats, that some are still unclean, and that by virtue of God’s prohibition, it would be evil in him to eat such meats, because he therein acts against his conscience, and doth that which he himself thinks to be a sin: see Romans 14:23. I know and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus,.... As for the apostle's own sense and judgment about the distinction of meats, it was this,

that there is nothing unclean of itself; that every creature, as originally made by God, is good; that what is eatable, or fit for food, may be eaten, whatever the Mosaic laws, being now abrogated, say to the contrary; and that whatever physical or natural difference there may be between the creatures of God, one being naturally fit for food, and another not; yet there is no moral distinction between them, there is nothing in any of them that can morally defile a man by eating them; nor indeed is there now any ceremonial distinction between them, and so no ceremonial pollution by them. This was not a bare conjecture, nor a mere opinion, but a point of certain knowledge, a matter of faith, and of full assurance of faith; the apostle was thoroughly persuaded of the truth of it, and had not the least doubt nor difficulty in his mind about it; he was as fully assured of it, as he was of his salvation by Christ, and of his interest in the love of God, from which he could never be separated, and therefore expresses it in language equally as strong; and this he came to the knowledge and persuasion of, "by the Lord Jesus"; by his express words, Matthew 15:11; or by a revelation from him, in which way he had the whole Gospel: he might be informed of this matter in like manner as Peter was, by a vision from heaven, Acts 10:10, or he knew this through the abrogation of the whole ceremonial law by Christ, who abolished the law of commandments contained in ordinances, and so these laws relating to the difference of meats among the rest; and he knew, that all the creatures in their original creation were good, and though cursed, for man's sake yet Christ had removed the curse, and sanctified them for the use of his people, who, under the Gospel dispensation, might make use of them at pleasure, without distinction: and the Jews themselves own, that what before was unclean, shall in the days of the Messiah be clean: so they explain Psalm 146:7; "the Lord looseth the prisoners", which they would render, "the Lord looseth that which was forbidden"; and give this as the sense (r).

"every beast which was unclean in this world (the Jewish state), , "God will cleanse it in the time to come" (in the times of the Messiah), when they shall be clean as at the first, to the sons of Noah.''

So they observe, that the Hebrew word for a hog, comes from which signifies to return; because, say they (s), hereafter God will cause it to return to the Israelites; and even now, as formerly, they allow of eating anything that is torn, or dies of itself, or hog's flesh to an army entering into a Gentile country, and subduing it, where they can find nothing else (t):

but to him that esteemeth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean; such a man that thinks the laws concerning clean and unclean meats are still in force, and binding upon him, ought to refrain from eating them; because he would act contrary to his conscience, and so violate and defile it; wherefore though the apostle was so fully satisfied in his own, mind, yet he would not have weak and scrupulous consciences do themselves any hurt through his faith; for if they ate doubtingly, and without faith, it was an evil. Capellus (u) mentions a rule laid down by the Jews, but does not direct where it is to be found, nor have I yet met with it, very agreeable to this of the apostle's, which runs thus:

"this is the grand general rule in the law, that every thing which thou dost not know, "whether it is lawful or unlawful, to thee it is unlawful", until thou hast asked a wise men concerning who may teach thee that it is lawful.''

(r) Bereshit Rabba in Maji Synops. Jud. Theolog. p. 224. R. Moses Hadarsan in Galatin. de Arcan. Cathol. ver. l. 11. c. 12. p. 699. (s) Abarbinel. Rosh Amana, c. 13. fol. 18. 2.((t) Maimon. Hilch. Melacim, c. 8. sect. 1.((u) In loc.

{13} I know, and am persuaded by the {n} Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of {o} itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

(13) The preventing of an objection: it is true that the right of the law to be schoolmaster is taken away by the benefit of Christ, to those who know it, but yet nonetheless we have to consider in the use of this liberty what is expedient, that we may have regard to our weak brother, seeing that our liberty is not lost in doing this.

(n) By the Spirit of the Lord Jesus, or by the Lord Jesus, who broke down the wall at his coming.

(o) By nature.

Romans 14:14. Discussion of the preceding injunction, giving information regarding it. Paul grants, namely, in principle, that the freer brethren are right, but immediately adds an exception which arises in practice, and, in assigning the reason for this addition, declares (Romans 14:15) the not attending to the exception a proof of want of love.

καὶ πέπεισμαι ἐν κυρ. .] More precise definition of the preceding οἶδα.

ἐν κυρ.] i.e. in my fellowship with the Lord; οὐκ ἄρα ἀνθρωπίνης διανοίας ἡ ψῆφος, Chrysostom.

κοινόν] corresponding to the βέβηλον of the Greeks: profane, ἀκάθαρτον (Chrysostom), Acts 10:14; Acts 10:28; Acts 11:8; Hebrews 10:29. Thus the eating of flesh was held to be unholy and unclean, and therefore a thing at variance with the holiness of a Christian’s position. Comp. Ezekiel 42:20; 1Ma 1:47; 1Ma 1:62.

διʼ αὐτοῦ] Since the reflexive αὑτοῦ (with the rough breathing) is generally doubtful in the N. T. (comp. Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 97 f.), and here the personal αὐτοῦ (with the soft breathing) is quite sufficient and appropriate in sense, the latter is to be preferred (Bengel, Matthaei, Lachmann, Tischendorf, 7, Hofmann); not, however, to be referred to Christ (Theodoret, Bisping, Jatho, and others), but to be explained: through itself, i.e. through its nature. In διʼ αὐτοῦ is thus implied the objectively existing uncleanness, in contrast (see below) to that which subjectively accrues per accidens. On account of the laws relating to food of the O. T., Olshausen thinks that the thought of the apostle is intended to affirm that “through Christ and His sanctifying influence the creation has again become pure and holy.” This arbitrary importation of a meaning (followed by Bisping) is overthrown by the very circumstance that the abstinence of the Roman ascetics was by no means founded on the law—which did not in fact forbid the use of flesh generally—but was of a supra-legal Essenic character. Moreover, Paul was clear and certain, so far as concerns the O. T. laws of food, that they had outlived the time of obligatoriness appointed for them by God, and were abolished by God Himself, inasmuch as in Christ the end of the law had come, and the temporary divine institute had given place to the eternal one of the gospel as its fulfilment, Matthew 5:17. Comp. on Romans 10:4; Colossians 2:16 ff.; also on Acts 10:15-16.

εἰ μή] not equivalent to ἀλλά, but nisi, which, without taking διʼ αὐτοῦ also into account, applies merely to οὐδὲν κοινόν. Comp. on Matthew 12:4; Galatians 2:16.

ἐκείνῳ κοινόν] ἐκ. with emphasis, as in 2 Corinthians 10:18, Mark 7:15; Mark 7:20, and very frequently in John. The uncleanness is in such a case subjective, coming into existence and subsisting actually for the individual through the fettered condition of his own conscience.Romans 14:14. In principle, the Apostle sides with the strong. He has no scruples about meats or drinks or days. ἐν Κυρίῳ Ἰησοῦ: it is as a Christian, not as a libertine, that Paul has this conviction; in Christ Jesus he is sure that there is nothing in the world essentially unclean; all things can be consecrated and Christianised by Christian use. κοινόν: cf. Acts 10:14; Acts 10:28, Revelation 21:27. It is the opposite of ἅγιον, and signifies that which is not and cannot be brought into relation to God. εἰ μὴ τῷ λογιζομένῳ κ.τ.λ. Though there is nothing which in itself has this character, some things may have it subjectively, i.e., in the judgment of a particular person who cannot help (from some imperfection of conscience) regarding them so; to him (ἐκείνῳ emphatic) they are what his conscience makes them; and his conscience (unenlightened as it is) is entitled to respect. For εἰ μὴ cf. Matthew 12:14, Galatians 2:16.14. by the Lord Jesus] Lit. in the Lord Jesus; i.e. as one who is both a “member of Christ” and acts under His special influence.

unclean] Lit. common (as margin E. V.); i.e. ceremonially unclean. Cp. Acts 10:15.

of itself] Lit. by means of itself; i.e. per se: “nothing makes itself unlawful” for food.

but to him, &c.] Lit. unless to him, &c. But the Gr. idiom is rightly rendered in E. V. So Rev. 20:27, where lit. “unless they which are written, &c.”

Here St Paul appeals to the feet that individual conscience, however misguided, must never be violated by its possessor. Mistaken conscience calls for correction by better light, but never for violation. To follow conscience is, in itself, no security that we are doing what is per se right; but to violate conscience, which is our actual view of right and wrong, is always wrong. Here, for instance, the “weak brother,” so long as his conscience scrupled about a certain sort of food, would do wrong to eat it, though his scruple was an error; and the “strong brother” would be really tempting him to sin by—not patiently explaining the error and leaving him to reflection on it, but—rudely, sarcastically, or slightingly, inducing him to override his unchanged convictions.—Cp. the instructive language of 1 Corinthians 8:10.Romans 14:14. Ἐν Κυριῷ Ιησοῦ, in the Lord Jesus) All cases are best and most certainly resolved in the face of Christ; I know and am persuaded, a rare conjunction of words, but adapted to this place for confirmation against ignorance and doubt.Verse 14. - I know, and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus (I myself know it; my very faith in Jesus carries to me the conviction of it; I do not hesitate to declare my own decided view, that the scruples of these weak brethren are unfounded) that there is nothing unclean of itself (cf. Matthew 15:11; Mark 7:18; Acts 10:15; 1 Timothy 4:4); save that to him who accounteth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. To him it becomes defiling, because partaking of it defiles his conscience (cf. 1 Corinthians 8:7). I know - am persuaded (οἶδα - πέπεισμαι)

"A rare conjunction of words, but fitted here to confirm against ignorance and doubt" (Bengel). For I know, see on John 2:4. The persuasion is not the result of his own reasoning, but of his fellowship in the Lord Jesus. So Rev, for by the Lord, etc.

Unclean (κοινὸν)

Lit., common. In the Levitical sense, as opposed to holy or pure. Compare Mark 7:2, "With defiled (κοιναῖς common), that is to say, with unwashen hands." See Acts 10:14.

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