Romans 14:18
For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) In these things.—The more correct reading is, in this (way). The meaning, however, is the same.

Serveth Christ.—Here the principle of unity which holds together different sides and manifestations of the Christian character is indicated.

Approved of men.—So that He will not be “evil spoken of,” as the uncompromising legalist or anti-legalist is apt to be.

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.In these things - In righteousness, peace, and joy.

Serveth Christ - Or obeys Christ, who has commanded them. He receives Christ as his "master" or "teacher" and does his will in regard to them. To do these things is to do honor to Christ, and to show the excellency of his religion.

Is acceptable to God - Whether he be converted from the Jews or the Gentiles.

And approved of men - That is, people will "approve" of such conduct; they will esteem it to be right, and to be in accordance with the spirit of Christianity. He does not say that the wicked world will "love" such a life, but it will commend itself to them as such a life as people ought to lead.

18. For he that in these things—"in this," meaning this threefold life.

serveth Christ—Here again observe how, though we do these three things as a "kingdom of God," yet it is "Christ" that we serve in so doing; the apostle passing here from God to Christ as naturally as before from Christ to God—in a way to us inconceivable, if Christ had been viewed as a mere creature (compare 2Co 8:21).

is acceptable to God, and approved of men—these being the things which God delights in, and men are constrained to approve. (Compare Pr 3:4; Lu 2:52; Ac 2:47; 19:20).

This proves the foregoing assertion, that the kingdom of God consisteth in righteousness, peace, and joy, because he that serveth Christ in and by these things, is accepted of God, and approved of men; this cannot be affirmed of meat and drink, &c. When he says that the serving of Christ in these things is approved of men, he means of such as are godly, and of sound judgment; for of others they are often hated and reviled for the exercise of these very graces: and yet righteousness and peaceableness have oftentimes their praise from the wicked themselves: see 1 Samuel 2:26 Proverbs 3:4 Luke 2:52 Acts 2:47.

For he that in these things serveth Christ,.... That is, in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; he whose faith is an obedient one, and embraces these things, and from the heart obeys them; who seeks righteousness alone by Christ, and peace and pardon through his blood; who rejoices in Christ Jesus, and puts no trust in the flesh, in moral duties or ceremonial services; and who, from principles of grace, serves Christ in a way of righteousness, wherein he possesses true peace of conscience, and abundance of spiritual joy and comfort: the Alexandrian copy and some others, and the Vulgate Latin version, read, "in this thing"; as if it referred only to the right use of Christian liberty, about things indifferent: such an one

is acceptable to God; in Christ the beloved, in whom he believes, from whom he derives all his peace, joy, and comfort; and whom he serves in righteousness and holiness, and through whom also all his services are acceptable unto God:

and approved of men; of good men, of such that can discern things that differ, and approve those that are excellent; and even of bad men, for such who live honestly and uprightly, who cultivate peace and friendship among men, and carry themselves cheerfully and civilly to all men, cannot but be approved of by the generality of them, though they may dislike them on other accounts.

For he that in {p} these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.

(p) He that lives peaceably, and does righteously, through the Holy Spirit.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Romans 14:18. Not an explanation, why he has mentioned by name these three particulars, as those in which the kingdom consists (Hofmann), but a confirmation of the contents of Romans 14:17; and how greatly must this confirmation have conduced to the recommendation and support of the precept μὴ βλασφημ. κ.τ.λ. of Romans 14:16 as established by Romans 14:17!

ἐν τούτοις] (see the critical notes) refers to the just mentioned three great moral elements. He who in these (not therefore possibly in βρῶσις and πόσις, and the like unspiritual things) serves Christ, etc. On ἐν with δουλεύειν, denoting its moral life-sphere, comp. Romans 7:6.

εὐάρεστ. τ. Θεῷ] “testimonium, quod expresse adfirmat bona opera renatorum placere Deo,” Melanchthon.

δόκιμος τοῖς ἀνθρ.] approved by men; such is the relation according to its moral nature,—a fact not annulled by abnormal manifestations, in which misapprehension, perversion of the moral judgment, and the like are at work. “Paulus hic de sincero judicio loquitur,” Calvin.

Romans 14:18. ἐν τούτῳ: “on the principle implied by these virtues” (Sanday and Headlam). One may serve Christ either eating or abstaining, but no one can serve Him whose conduct exhibits indifference to righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. δόκιμος τοῖς ἀνθρώποις: so that there can be no occasion given to any one to blaspheme. Cf. Romans 16:10, 2 Timothy 2:15, Jam 1:12. A sound Christian character wins even the world’s approval.

18. For he that in these things, &c.] The “for” indicates a connexion somewhat as follows: “the privileges of the Gospel are above all things spiritual: for the subjects of God’s evangelical kingdom approve themselves as loyal to their King, and worthy of their privileges in the eyes of men, not so much by insisting on ceremonial freedom, as by bringing the influence of their spiritual peace and joy to bear on their service of Christ.”—“In these things:”—another reading, not so well supported, is “in this thing.” If adopted, the “this” must refer to the whole idea of spiritual privilege.

serveth] The word bears a suppressed emphasis. The assertor of ceremonial liberty is reminded that he is the bondman of the Lord, precisely in virtue of his freedom from the doom of the law. See ch. 6.

acceptable to God] As the servant who uses the Master’s talent in the Master’s business.

approved of men] As standing the test of sincerity and reality. (The Gr. word suggests the idea of testing, assaying.)

Fact abundantly illustrates the Apostle’s words. The disciple who “in these things serveth Christ” may or may not be popular with men around him; but he is quite sure, on the whole and in the long run, to be recognized as real. No doubt the “strong” Christian is implicitly warned that punctilious assertions of liberty are very likely to have the opposite result.

Romans 14:18. Ἐν τούτοις, in these things) whether he eats or not; the Alex. and others, Lat. [Vulg.] have ἐν τούτῳ: τούτῳ in the singular has no antecedent, to which it can be made to refer. It may have arisen from its alliteration with τῷ, which follows.[150]—ΕὐΆΡΕΣΤΟςΔΟΚΙΜῸς, acceptable—approved) He does that, by which he pleases God and approves himself to, and ought to be approved by, men: he is even approved by those, whom he has no desire to please.

[150] ABCD corrected later. Gfg Memph. Theb. Versions, Origen, have ἐν τούτῳ. Rec. Text is supported by the two Syr. Versions alone of ancient authorities in reading ἐν τούτοις.—ED.

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