Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died- more than that, who was raised- who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
Who are God’s elect?
The elect are people God knew would repent of their sins and believe the gospel. Knowing they would believe, God predestined them, called them, justified (“made righteous”) them, and glorified them (glorification is done, but is in the future). The elect are people who believe in Jesus as Lord.
In the Roman church there were individuals among the Jewish Christians and individuals among the Gentile Christians that were bringing condemning charges against each other. The Gentile Christians charged the Jewish Christians of trusting in the food laws and special days and condemned them. The Jewish Christians charged the Gentile Christians for not living Jewishly and condemned them. These judgments brought divisions in the local church and were hindering their main mission of seeking and saving the lost because they were not building each other up in Christ.
Romans 14:1-3 instructs us not to condemn practices that God accepts. Read Romans 14:4, 10, 13 for what we are not to do. We are not to pass judgment on a fellow believer concerning something God says is okay to practice.
Christians often have personal opinions on what is pleasing to God. People will disagree. Many times this leads to division in the Church. If both sides become vocal and condemning it hinders the primary work of God, the tasks of building each other up and reaching those who do not know Christ.
We are to judge our fellow believer if they are doing what God calls sin, but in gentleness with the purpose to restore (Galatians 6:1; 1 Corinthians 5:1-5). This is called making a right judgement. To often bad judgements are made on both sides.
We are to judge sinful practices and not the intentions of the heart. Only God knows the heart. We are not to condemn those who have repented and believed the gospel, who have been justified by God. We are not to condemn, that is call a person a non-believer, because they practice a lifestyle okay with God, but not with how we think they should live the Christian life.
Divisions arise in local churches today over holiday practices, drinking practices, dress codes, dancing, games, hair, etc. The Bible makes clear what is acceptable in these practices and what is not:
What does the Bible say about these topics?
If a certain church values wearing 'the Sunday best' and another church values 'come as you are' is one church right and one church wrong? If a certain church prefers men to have short hair and women long hair and another church prefers 'come as you are' hair is one right and one wrong? If one church is alcohol free and another practices moderation and wisdom in love for others which one is right? You get the picture.
The Bible addresses each one of these topics. Begin to find what the scriptures say as you read through the Bible systematically.
We need to make sure we are judging according to what the Bible calls sin and then address it with the purpose to restore a believer, not to condemn a believer.
Are you in bringing condemning charges against other believers?
May you live free of condemnation and judge rightly.
Three key questions to ask as we prayerfully read the scriptures:
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