Enough To Worry About

Enough To Worry About

Pastor Don Carpenter

When In Doubt / Romans 14:10–13

At the turn of the century, the world’s most distinguished astronomer was certain there were canals on Mars. Sir Percival Lowell, esteemed for his study of the solar system, had a particular fascination with the Red Planet.

When he heard, in 1877, that an Italian astronomer had seen straight lines crisscrossing the Martian surface, Lowell spent the rest of his years squinting into the eyepiece of his giant telescope in Arizona, mapping the channels and canals he saw. He was convinced the canals were proof of intelligent life on Mars, possibly an older but wiser race than humanity.

Lowell’s observations gained wide acceptance. So eminent was he, none dared contradict him.

Now, of course, things are different. Space probes have orbited Mars and landed on its surface. The entire planet has been mapped, and no one has seen a canal. How could Lowell have “seen” so much that wasn’t there?

Two possibilities: (1) he so wanted to see canals that he did, over and over again, and (2) we know now that he suffered from a rare eye disease that made him see the blood vessels in his own eyes. The Martian “canals” he saw were nothing more than the bulging veins of his eyeballs. Today the malady is known as “Lowell’s syndrome.”

When Jesus warns that “in the same way you judge others, you will be judged” and warns of seeing “the speck of sawdust” in another’s eye while missing the plank in our own (Matt. 7:1–3), could he not be referring to the spiritual equivalent of Lowell’s syndrome? Over and over, we “see” faults in others because we don’t want to believe anything better about them. And so often we think we have a first-hand view of their shortcomings, when in fact our vision is distorted by our own disease.

As we continue our study of Romans 14 entitled “When In Doubt”, we find that we cannot spend time focusing on judging out brother about extrabiblical nuances and personal applications because we will one day account for our own behavior, specifically our behavior toward the brother that we may have been judging. We should not spend time evaluating someone else and judging them based on our own extrabiblical preferences because we have enough to worry about.

Why Judge Your Brother Knowing What You Do?

Romans 14:10 KJV

But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

  • You are judging another man’s servant 

Romans 14:4 KJV

Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

  • Everyone comes up with different conclusions. 

Romans 14:5 KJV

One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

  • These are personal between them and the Lord 

Romans 14:6 KJV

He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

 • They answer to God not to you. 

 • So why would you set your bother at naught? 

Romans Chapter 14

 But why, &c. Since we are all subjects and servants alike, and must all stand at the same tribunal, what right have we to sit in judgment on others?

Thou judge. Thou who art a Jewish convert, why dost thou attempt to arraign the Gentile disciple, as if he had violated a law of God? comp. ver. 3.

Thy brother. God has recognised him as his friend (ver. 3), and he should be regarded by thee as a brother in the same family.

Or why dost thou set at nought. Despise (ver. 3); why dost thou, who art a Gentile convert, despise the Jewish disciple as being unnecessarily scrupulous and superstitious?

Thy brother. The Jewish convert is now a brother; and all the contempt which you Gentiles once cherished for the Jew should cease, from the fact that he is now a Christian. Nothing will do so much, on the one hand, to prevent a censorious disposition, and on the other, to prevent contempt for those who are in a different rank in life, as to remember that they are Christians, bought with the same blood, and going to the same heaven as ourselves.

We must all stand, &c. That is, we must all be tried alike at the same tribunal; we must answer for our conduct, not to our-fellow men, but to Christ; and it does not become us to sit in judgment on each other.

Why Would You Judge Your Brother When You Know You Will Be Judged?

Romans 14:11–12 KJV

For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. 

So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

Romans 2:16 KJV

In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

Acts 17:31 KJV

Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

1 Corinthians 3:13–15 KJV

Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 

If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 

If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

Why Would You Judge Your Brother When You Should Be Helping Him?

Romans 14:13 KJV

Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.

14:13) Robertson explains the words, “Let us not therefore judge one another any more,” as follows; “Let us no longer have the habit of criticising one another.” “Stumbling block” is proskamma (?????????), from proskopt? (?????????), “to cut toward or against, to strike against,” used of those who strike against a stone or other obstacle in the path, “to stumble” (Thayer.) Thus, proskamma (?????????) is a stumbling block, “an obstacle in the way which if one strike his foot against, he necessarily stumbles or falls, hence, that over which the soul stumbles” (Thayer). “Occasion to fall” is skandalon (?????????), “The movable stick or trigger of a trap, a snare, any impediment placed in the way and causing one to stumble or fall, any person or thing by which one is entrapped, drawn into error or sin” (Thayer).1 

1 Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 236. 

Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words Offence (Offense)

1. skandalon (?????????, 4625) originally was “the name of the part of a trap to which the bait is attached, hence, the trap or snare itself, as in Rom. 11:9, RV, ‘stumblingblock,’ quoted from Psa. 69:22, and in Rev. 2:14, for Balaam’s device was rather a trap for Israel than a stumblingblock to them, and in Matt. 16:23, for in Peter’s words the Lord perceived a snare laid for Him by Satan.

“In NT skandalon is always used metaphorically, and ordinarily of anything that arouses prejudice, or becomes a hindrance to others, or causes them to fall by the way. Sometimes the hindrance is in itself good, and those stumbled by it are the wicked.”*

In the days of the pioneers, when men saw that a prairie fire was coming, what would they do? Since not even the fastest of horses could outrun it, the pioneers took a match and burned the grass in a designated area around them. Then they would take their stand in the burned area and be safe from the threatening prairie fire. As the roar of the flames approached, they would not be afraid. Even as the ocean of fire surged around them there was no fear, because fire had already passed over the place where they stood.

When the judgment of God comes to sweep men and women into hell for eternity, there is one spot that is safe. Nearly two thousand years ago the wrath of God was poured on Calvary. There the Son of God took the wrath that should have fallen on us. Now, if we take our stand by the cross, we are safe for time and eternity.

The Blood of Jesus cleanses us from unrighteousness. Our brothers and sisters in Christ enjoy that same Grace. We do not need, then, to evaluate their every personal decision and standard. We have our own standing before God.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 2:15 PM February 13, 2021.

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