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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 14 - Verse 20

Verse 20. For meat. By your obstinate, pertinacious attachment to your own opinions about the distinctions of meats and drinks, do not pursue such a course as to lead a brother into sin, and ruin his soul. Here is a new argument presented why Christians should pursue a course of charity—that the opposite would tend to the ruin of the brother's soul.

Destroy not. The word here is that which properly is applied to pulling down an edifice; and the apostle continues the figure which he used in the previous verse. Do not pull down or destroy the temple which God is rearing.

The work of God. The work of God is that which God does, and here especially refers to his work in rearing his church. The Christian is regarded peculiarly as the work of God, as God renews his heart, and makes him what he is. Hence he is called God's "building," (1 Co 3:9) and his "workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works," (Eph 2:10) and is denominated "a new creature," 2 Co 5:17. The meaning is, "Do not so conduct yourself, in regard to the distinction of meats into clean and unclean, as to cause your brother to sin, and to impair or ruin the work of religion which God is carrying on in his soul." The expression does not refer to man as being the work of God, but to the piety of the Christian; to that which God, by his Spirit, is producing in the heart of the believer.

All things indeed are pure. Comp. Ro 14:14. This is a concession to those whom he was exhorting to peace. All things under the Christian dispensation are lawful to be eaten. The distinctions of the Levitical law are not binding on Christians.

But it is evil. Though pure in itself, yet it may become an occasion of sin, if another is grieved by it. It is evil to the man who pursues a course that will give offence to a brother; that will pain him, or tend to drive him off from the church, or lead him away into sin.

With offence. So as to offend a brother, such as he esteems to be sin, and by which he will be grieved.

{y} "are pure; but it is" Tit 1:15 {z} "evil for that man" 1 Co 8:10-13

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