Rabbi’s Reflections – Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Life In The Body part 41 – Romans, part 216

Romans 14:14 I know, and am persuaded in the Lord Yeshua, that nothing is unholy in itself; but it is unholy for the one who considers it unholy.

Paul, what do you mean by this?  Of course there is good and evil!  Let me help myself here with my own explanation of Paul’s intent.  There are people out there (even well meaning people, who love the Lord) who see a demon under every bush.   Paul is addressing these people.

Think about the extremes of some people in the name of observance.  One person will not start his car on Shabbat because to do so makes the engine work.  It also creates a spark in the cylinder, and creating on the day of rest is forbidden.  Another person believes it is okay to continue heating food on Shabbat if it is already hot at the start of Shabbat, but to just heat food on Shabbat is work.

Still another person believes you should unscrew the bulb inside your refrigerator so the light does not come on when the door opens.  Opening the refrigerator door is not work, but if you make the light come on, then it is work.  For others, the question arises, “Can you ride on an elevator on Shabbat?”  Under what conditions?  Can you push the button?  Or, here is another question, “What are the ‘rules’ for having someone else (preferably a non-Jew) turn your lights on and off for you during Shabbat?”

Do you see how this never ends?  Paul is addressing this seemingly never-ending “competition” to be holy.  (And believe me, I’ve only just scratched the surface.)  This brings up another question.  Who determines if something is pagan?  Some (especially in Messianic Judaism) say a Christmas tree is pagan.  If you worship it, it is.  If you have a Christmas tree, my recommendation is that you don’t worship it.  If you do, it has become an idol to you.

Paul said this earlier… Romans 14:5b Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.  Paul says in our subject verse, “…nothing is unholy in itself; but it is unholy for the one who considers it unholy.”  Do you see the similarity?  If we determine what is holy for someone else, we can only do so based on what we see.  But that’s not the whole story.  God is able to judge the intents of the heart, while we cannot.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword—piercing right through to a separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Let’s put God on the throne.  He alone is our Judge.  We should encourage each other to carry out our own assignment.  Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship—created in Messiah Yeshua for good deeds, which God prepared beforehand so we might walk in them.  Shalom shalom.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Tue 21-Nov-2023 8th of Kislev, 5784
Ge 29:18-30:13 Jdg 19 Ps 40 Mk 1:1-20 (Ro 16)