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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 14 - Verse 15

Verse 15. But if thy brother, etc. This address is to the Gentile convert. In the previous verse, Paul admitted that the prejudice of the Jew was not well founded. But, admitting that, still the question was how he should be treated while he had that prejudice. The apostle here shows the Gentile that he ought not so to act as necessarily to wound his feelings, or to grieve him.

Be grieved. Be pained; as a conscientious man always is, when he sees another, and especially a Christian brother, do anything which he esteems to be wrong. The pain would be real, though the opinion from which it arose might not be well founded.

With thy meat. Greek, On account of meat, or food; that is, because you eat that which he regards as unclean.

Now walkest. To walk, in the sacred Scriptures, often denotes to act, or to do a thing, Mr 7:5; Ac 21:21; Ro 6:4; 8:1,4.

Here it means, that if the Gentile convert persevered in the use of such food, notwithstanding the conscientious scruples of the Jew, he violated the law of love.

Charitably. Greek, According to charity, or love; that is, he would violate that law which required him to sacrifice his own comfort to promote the happiness of his brother, 1 Co 13:5; 10:24,28,29

Php 2:4,21.

Destroy not him. The word destroy here refers, doubtless, to the ruin of the soul in hell. It properly denotes ruin or destruction, and is applied to the ruin or corruption of various things, in the New Testament. To life, (Mt 10:39) to a reward, in the sense of losing it, (Mr 9:41; Lu 15:4) to food, (Joh 6:27) to the Israelites represented as lost or wandering, (Mt 10:6) to wisdom that is rendered vain,

(1.) 1 Co 1:19) to bottles rendered useless, (Mt 9:17) etc. But it is also frequently applied to destruction in hell, to the everlasting ruin of the soul. Mt 10:28, "Who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." Mt 18:14; Joh 3:15; Ro 2:12.

That this is its meaning here is apparent from the parallel place in 1 Co 8:11, "And through thy knowledge shall thy weak brother perish?" If it be asked how the eating of meat by the Gentile convert could be connected with the perdition of the Jew, I reply, that the apostle supposes that in this way an occasion of stumbling would be afforded to him, and he would come into condemnation. He might be led by example to partake against his own conscience, or he might be excited to anger, disgust, and apostasy from the Christian faith. Though the apostle believed that all who were true Christians would be saved, Ro 8:30-39, yet he believed that it would be brought about by the use of means, and that nothing should be done that would tend to hinder or endanger their salvation, Heb 6:4-9; 2:1. God does not bring his people to heaven without the use of means adapted to the end; and one of those means is that employed here to warn professing Christians against such conduct as might jeopard the salvation of their brethren. For whom Christ died. The apostle speaks here of the possibility of endangering the salvation of those for whom Christ died, just as he does respecting the salvation of those who are in fact Christians. By those for whom Christ died, he undoubtedly refers here to true Christians, for the whole discussion relates to them, and them only. Comp. Ro 14:3,4,7,8.

This passage should not be brought, therefore, to prove that Christ died for all men, or for any who shall finally perish. Such a doctrine is undoubtedly true, (comp. 2 Co 5:14,15; 1 Jo 2:2; 2 Pe 2:1,) but it is not the truth which is taught here. The design is to show the criminality of a course that would tend to the ruin of a brother. For these weak brethren, Christ laid down his precious life. He loved them; and shall we, to gratify our appetites, pursue a course which will tend to defeat the work of Christ, and ruin the souls redeemed by his blood?

{2} "charitably" or "according to charity" {r} "destroy not him" 1 Co 8:11

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