(Romans 14:1) “Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to dispute over doubtful things.”
What is it to be “weak in the faith?”
There is a difference between “weak in the faith” and “weak in faith”. Abraham was not “weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about a hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” (Romans 4:19)
(Romans 4:3) “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”
The Bible is saying is that Abraham was not weak in faith but was strong. Even though he was old and Sara was old, he believed God would do what He said He would do.
Who are not “the weak in the faith?”
- Now in Romans 14: 1 the “weak in the faith” is someone that has some misgivings about just what should he do or not do when he is in Christ.
- “In the faith” means one has faith in Jesus as Lord and savior. This means that he is part of the church.
- The “weak in the faith” are not part of the ones that we read about in (Acts 15:1) “And certain men which came down from Judæa taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.” These men were teaching that faith in Jesus was not enough. They taught that if a Gentile were to be saved he had to keep all the ceremonial law; that is one had to be circumcised to be saved. These men that taught this were called Judaizers. Paul wrote the book of Galatians to try to do away with this teaching.
Who are the weak in the faith?
- They were believers who had not come to a full understanding of the fact that there is but one God. Paul deals with these people in 1 Corinthians 8:4-7;(HCSB) “About eating food offered to idols, then, we know that “an idol is nothing in the world,” and that “there is no God but one.” For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth––as there are many “gods” and many “lords” –– yet for us, there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we through Him. However, not everyone has this knowledge. In fact, some have been so used to idolatry up until now, that when they eat food offered to an idol, their conscience, being weak, is defiled.”
It seems that, to these people, when one eats meat offered in sacrifice to idols it is worshiping that idol. These could be called “weak in the faith”.
- In the context of chapter 14 of Romans the “weak in the faith” are the people that think that they need to keep all of the holy days that are in the law.
- Also, others believed that no meat should be eaten.
- All of these are things that do not keep one from being saved or not. On these things we are not to judge other believers about whether they are in the faith or not. (Romans 14:4) “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.”
- You are to receive the ones that you do not agree with. You are not to receive them with the idea of changing their views to the ones you have by arguments. But you are to receive them in love because they are also loved by God and Christ died them too.
Are you strong in your faith? Do you have rights? But will exercising your rights lead another way from Christ? (1 Corinthians 8:13) “Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend” or to cause to sin or neglect duty.
*Devotional written by Ralph Williams, retired pastor and member of One Hope Mobile.