“Acquit One Another” (Romans 14: 8, NEB) by Carley Evans

Jesus dies and returns to life again; therefore, He becomes Lord of both the living and the dead. Therefore Paul asks: “You, sir, why do you pass judgment on your brother? And you, sir, why do you hold your brother in contempt? We shall all stand before God’s tribunal.” (Romans 14: 10)

Each of us — whether we live or whether we die — belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. “Each of us will have to answer for Himself.” (Romans 14: 12)

“Let us therefore cease judging one another.” (Romans 14: 13) Rather, writes Paul, let our conduct be guided by love. (Romans 14: 15) The apostle reminds us that “[we] may speak in tongues of men or of angels, but if [we] are without love, [we] are sounding gongs or clanging cymbals.” (1 Corinthians 13: 1) “If [we] have no love, [we] are nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13: 2)

Jesus says, “Pass no judgment, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; acquit, and you will be acquitted; give, and gifts will be given you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap; for whatever measure you deal out to others will be dealt to you in return.” (Luke 7: 37 – 38)

“Evil Lies Close At Hand” (Galatians 6: 1, ESV) by Carley Evans

Paul calls those “who are spiritual” to “restore” “anyone caught in any transgression” “in a spirit of gentleness.” Some are caught in transgression as one caught in a trap. Others who are free of that trap should assist in that person’s rescue from sin. Yet, Paul warns that the one who is “spiritual” must “keep watch on [himself], lest [he] too be tempted.”

Everyone is subject to temptation; and temptation is not temptation if there is no chance of failure. If the Christian life is as easy as saying, “I am free of sin;” then why is there so much sin in our churches, in our homes, in our children, in our marriages, in our work places? Why do we struggle against the flesh if it has been totally crucified?

Paul writes of this, “I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” (Romans 7: 21 – 25)

Paul writes, “For whatever does not proceed form faith is sin.” (Romans 14: 22)

And, “do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14: 16 – 17)

The struggle is to maintain faith, to keep trust in God’s ultimate goodness, to believe that everything works together toward His perfection.