Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament epistle of the apostle Paul which was written unto the saints which were at Rome. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the fourteenth chapter of this New Testament book. “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. 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. One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 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. For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ both died and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living” (Romans 14:1-9).
“But why dost thou judge thy brother? Or why does thou set at nought thy brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of christ. 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. 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. I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom christ died. Let not then your good be evil spoken of: For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak. Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:10-23).
CHRISTIAN LIVING! When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the apostle Paul continuing the epistle with something entirely and altogether different from how the epistle began. IF you take the time to read this epistle you will notice that chapters one through eight deal entirely and altogether with the believer’s standing and relationship with the living God. The opening eight chapters of this epistle bring the reader face to face with their justification in the sight of the living God by and through faith alone through the Lord Jesus Christ. In these chapters the apostle Paul seeks to present all believers with the tremendous truth that they are and were sinners in the sight of the living God. In fact you cannot read the opening chapters of the epistle and not encounter the incredibly and powerful truth that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. It would in the third chapter of this epistle the apostle Paul would emphatically declare how all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God while it would be in the sixth chapter the apostle Paul would declare the wages of that sin is death and how the free gift of God through Jesus Christ is eternal life. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is for the opening chapters of the epistle call and draw our attention to the tremendous need for a Savior in the Lord Jesus who willingly and voluntarily gave His live as a ransom and sacrifice for the atonement and penalty of sin.
The more you read the words which are found in the opening chapters of the epistle written unto the saints of Rome the more you will be brought face to face with the strong and powerful truth that the apostle Paul used these opening chapters to describe how from the time of Adam sin and death have ruled and reigned upon the face of the earth. The apostle Paul presented the undeniable truth that through Adam all have obtained this sinful and carnal nature which is at war with the spirit and is enmity before and in the sight of the living God. For the apostle Paul all men possessed this sinful and carnal nature which was against and opposed to the one true and living God and did in fact cause and create separation from Him. The sole purpose for the opening chapters of this epistle was to bring the readers face to face with the ugliness of sin and how it directly impacts their lives. We cannot and must ignore this particular truth for we cannot talk about Christian living and not at the same time also speak of our need for the Lord Jesus Christ within our lives. At the very heart and core of Christian living is our right standing in the sight and presence of the living God. One cannot hope or seek to commit themselves to Christian living in a crooked and perverse generation without and apart from first recognizing their own need for a Savior and their need for justification by faith alone. These opening chapters of this epistle show and demonstrate unto the reader how to get right with the living God and it is within and from that place of getting right in the sight of the living God that one can experience true and complete transformation.
There is not a doubt in my mind that when you come to the eighth chapter of this epistle you will come to a tremendous place where you witness the Pentecost within a believer’s life and that which produces true and lasting transformation. Upon coming the eighth chapter of the epistle you will find the work of the cross as having already begun and taken place within the heart and life of a believer and it is in the eighth chapter of this epistle where you essentially find the upper room and movement of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. It is within the first seven chapters the apostle Paul seeks to paint the picture of how all men have indeed and have in fact sinned in the sight and presence of the living God. It is in the opening chapter where the apostle Paul seeks to paint the powerful picture that man is without excuse in the sight and presence of the living God because that which might be made manifest concerning His eternal power and Godhead is made manifest in the things which have been made and are visible in the earth. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the first chapter beginning with the eighteenth verse:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen” (Romans 1:18-25).
“For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, impacable, unmerciful: who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” (Romans 1:26-32).
You cannot read the words presented in this portion of Scripture and not encounter and come face to face with the truth surrounding the tremendous iniquity and wickedness which is present in the world. Within these verses the apostle Paul seeks to paint a powerful picture of man being without excuse in the sight and presence of the living God because what can be known of Him is and has been made manifest in those things which are seen and those things which have been made in the earth. Oh we must needs recognize and pay close and careful attention to this for it calls and draws our attention to the truly wonderful and powerful truth surrounding the iniquity and transgression which would serve as a foundation for the apostle Paul’s argument that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Almost from the very outset of the epistle the apostle Paul brings the readers and audience face to face with sin, iniquity, wickedness, and transgression within the world. It would be from this particular place the apostle Paul would seek to call and invite the readers into a place where they would take a good, long and hard look at their own lives and not only see where they have sinned and transgressed the commandment of the living God but also how they too are included in the statement “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” The apostle Paul held nothing back within this opening chapter for within this opening chapter the apostle Paul not only sought to present the reader with the underlying knowledge they are without excuse but they are also guilty of some of the very things which he mentioned. It is in the second chapter where the apostle Paul not only reveals to them the continued truth of their being without excuse but also the danger(s) of judging others:
“Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgests: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou thou, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and and also of the Gentile; but glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without the law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another) in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel” (Romans 2:1-16).
What we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words found in this portion of Scripture is the incredible truth that exists between our need to judge others and the righteous judgment of the living God. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture it’s that sin must needs be and will be judged by the living God. The living God cannot uphold His own righteousness and holiness without judging sin for sin demands judgment. What we must needs recognize and realize when reading the words found in these chapters is that there is a vast difference between the judgment we would seek to mete out against and upon another and yet the righteous judgment the true and living God can and will mete out against all unrighteousness and all wickedness in the earth. It is in the final verse of this section—the sixteenth verse—where the apostle Paul speaks of the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to the gospel which he preached. Oh we have a great need to recognize and realize this for by and through it we encounter the tremendous and undeniable truth that the living, righteous and holy God can and will judge sin according to His own righteousness and holiness. The living God cannot violate His own holiness and righteousness and not judge sin, wickedness, immorality, transgression, rebellion, idolatry and the like in the earth. In fact if you turn and direct your attention to the opening book of the Old Testament—the book of Genesis—you will find two distinct examples of the living God judging sin and iniquity in the world. Although that judgment was meted out in the realm of time and space upon the earth there is coming a day when another judgment will take place—a judgment which will occur in heaven before the great white throne of the living God.
The more you read the words which are found within the epistle written unto the Romans the more you will encounter the awesome and powerful truth that despite the fact all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of the living God neither circumcision nor works of the Law provide and produce any means of justification in the sight of the living God. In fact it is when you come to the latter half of the second chapter and the third and fourth chapters you encounter and come face to face with the words the apostle Paul wrote concerning circumcision and the works of the Law. Moreover you will find the apostle Paul emphatically declare that he is not a Jew who is one outwardly but rather he is a Jew who is one inwardly. The apostle Paul was writing unto both Jews and Gentiles when writing the epistle unto the saints which were at Rome and we must needs recognize and understand this upon reading this epistle. As you read the epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome you must needs recognize that there were both Jews and Gentiles present in the midst of the congregation and the apostle Paul was declaring unto them how circumcision did indeed and did in fact avail nothing in the sight of the living God. The apostle Paul believed and preached that man was justified in the sight of the living God by and through faith alone without and apart from the works of the Law and even circumcision. Moreover the apostle Paul would go on to declare how true circumcision was not that which took place in the flesh but rather that which took place within the heart of a man or woman. The apostle Paul believed that the ultimate act of circumcision was that of the heart when the living God through the cross of the Lord Jesus would cut away the flesh of the heart that was in violation of His holiness, in violation of His righteousness and in violation of His character. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the final verses of the second chapter as well as the fourth chapter of this particular epistle written by the apostle Paul:
“For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Romans 2:25-29).
“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Is he the God of the Jews only? Is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law” (Romans 3:21-31).
“What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? For we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? When he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being circumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: and the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had yet being uncircumcised. For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickened the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken” (Romans 4:1-18).
It is absolutely necessary and imperative we recognize and understand the words which are found within these chapters for they bring us face to face with the fact that neither circumcision of the flesh nor works of the Law avail anything in the sight and presence of the living God. For one to be truly justified in the sight and presence of the living God it must come by and through faith—and not only faith but also faith in the Lord Jesus. In fact it is in the tenth chapter of this epistle where you will find the apostle Paul speaking of the word of faith which is nigh unto us in our very hearts and mouth. In the tenth chapter of this epistle the apostle Paul boldly declares that if we confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead we shall be saved. Moreover the apostle Paul would also declare that all who called upon the name of the Lord shall indeed be saved. The apostle Paul would speak of both the confession of our mouth as well as the belief within our heart and how both are absolutely necessary for the purpose of salvation within this present life. In this epistle the apostle Paul wrote and spoke of being justified by faith alone, however, we must needs recognize and understand the confession and profession of faith and its intrinsic link and connection to our being justified in the sight and presence of the living God. Oh there is something truly remarkable about the words presented here in this passage of Scripture and how the apostle Paul recognized and understood the word of faith which was nigh unto us—even within our very hearts and mouths. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the tenth chapter of this epistle concerning this word of faith and its direct link and connection to the confession which proceeds forth from our mouths:
“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (That is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:4-17).
Please pay close and careful attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for within it we find the apostle Paul emphatically declaring and speaking of the word of faith—namely, that if we confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead we shall be saved. Furthermore the apostle Paul goes on to describe how with the heart a man believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. The apostle Paul goes on to write how the Scripture declares that whosoever believes on the living God shall not be ashamed for there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek. This would be immediately followed by the declaration that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Oh pause for a moment and consider just how absolutely incredible that truly is for Scripture makes it perfectly clear that whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Perhaps the single greatest question is whether or not we are indeed calling upon the name of the Lord. What’s more is that within this portion of Scripture—not only do we find the apostle Paul writing and speaking of confessing with our mouth the Lord Jesus but the apostle Paul also speaks of our calling on the name of the Lord. It is absolutely essential and critical to this particular truth for we must needs recognize the power of our words and the power which is present within our mouth and our tongue. Oh dear reader to you truly understand the great power that lies in your confession and your calling on the name of the Lord? There is a great need for us to recognize and pay close attention to this for we must needs be a people who not only make confession with our mouths the Lord Jesus but also call upon the name of the Lord that we might be saved.
The more you delve into this epistle the more you will encounter and come face to face with the awesome and tremendous truth surrounding the work which the Lord Jesus wrought and worked on our behalf. You cannot read the epistle written by the apostle Paul and not encounter and come face to face with the absolutely wonderful and powerful truth surrounding that which the Lord Jesus did on, by and through the cross. In fact if you journey to the fifth chapter of this epistle you will find the apostle Paul writing and speaking of sin and death reigning in the earth from the time of Adam until Moses—and not only reigning from the time of Adam until the time of Moses but also until the present day in which He was writing. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand it’s that sin and death began with Adam in the garden of Eden when they transgressed against the command of the Lord and it would continue throughout history until this present moment. At this very moment when I am writing these words we must needs recognize and understand that sin and death have reigned within and upon the earth as a direct result of the sin and transgression of Adam. The apostle Paul makes it perfectly clear that it would be through the first man Adam sin and death were introduced into the world and although Adam and Eve did not immediately die after transgressing the command of the Lord they would nonetheless pass both sin and death through the generations beginning with Cain and Abel. Although Cain rose up against and slew Abel because his brother’s offering was accepted and his was rejected and although Adam and Eve would conceive and bring forth another son—Seth—the carnal and sin nature would still be passed down through the generations. It is in the fifth chapter of this epistle you will be brought face to face with the powerful truth surrounding sin and death being passed on down through Adam and how this first Adam would transmit sin and death through the seed that would be passed along through the generations. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the fifth chapter of this epistle:
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And now only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Romans 5:1-11).
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:12-21).
In the fifth chapter we encounter the great and wonderful work the Lord Jesus did for us through His own sacrifice and death upon the cross. Despite the fact that sin and death reigned within and upon the earth from the time of Adam there was a means and way to deal with sin and to render it absolutely powerless in our lives. When Jesus died upon the cross in the form of human flesh—not only did He satisfy the just judgment and penalty for sin but He would also destroy and break the power of sin in the earth. Scripture makes it very clear that what the Law could not do in that it was weak according to the flesh the Lord Jesus did in and through His own sacrifice. It would be through His coming in the form of human flesh and dying upon the cross that He would indeed destroy the body of sin in the flesh. When Jesus died upon the cross and when He declared that it was finished He was emphatically declaring and proclaiming that the work of destroying sin within His own flesh was and had been accomplished. Much like the sickness which was present within Lazarus’ physical body was destroyed upon his death so also was sin destroyed in the flesh of the Lord Jesus when He died. Just as Lazarus was raised from death to life without and apart from that sickness being present in his body so also would the Lord Jesus rise from death to life having completely and utterly destroyed sin in the flesh. When the Lord Jesus died He destroyed the power of sin within His flesh that it might be rendered entirely and altogether powerless within our hearts and lives. It would be through the death of the Lord Jesus upon the cross that He would become sin and take upon Himself sin that sin might destroyed through and in His flesh there upon the cross.
With all of this being said we must needs recognize that although the wages of sin is death and although all have sinned and come short of the glory of God the death of Christ wasn’t the only way to confront, combat and deal with sin. The death of the Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross was the first means of which the living and eternal God dealt with sin, however , we must needs recognize that there is a part we play in the rendering of sin being powerless within our hearts and lives. The initial work of death in response to sin was performed and completed by the Lord Jesus upon the cross, however, there was a second work which must needs continue within our lives each and every day in which we live and move upon the face of the earth. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for although the Lord Jesus Christ did indeed destroy the body of sin through His death upon the cross His death was an invitation given unto us to rise up and play our part in the process of the destruction of the sinful and carnal nature within our physical beings. So long as we reside in this physical and natural tent of flesh and blood we will contend and wrestle with the sinful and carnal nature. In fact it is this struggle the apostle Paul wrote and spoke of in the seventh chapter of this epistle for the apostle Paul recognized the tremendous war, conflict and battle that existed within his physical being. What’s more is that in the seventh and eighth chapters of this epistle the apostle Paul writes and speaks of the conflict and struggle that exists within his flesh between that which he wants to do and that which he doesn’t want to do, between that which he knows is good and that which he knows is evil and that which exists between the flesh and the Spirit. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the seventh and eighth chapters of this epistle beginning with the seventh verse of the seventh chapter:
“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful” (Romans 7:7-13).
“For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me, (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin” (Romans 7:14-25).
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:1-17).
The words and language which is presented within these portion of Scripture bring us face to face with the undeniable truth that there is indeed a war that exists within the members of our physical bodies and beings. While we know that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities, against rulers of darkness, against spiritual wickedness in high places we must needs recognize that there is indeed a conflict which exists within our own physical beings. So long as we are present within these earthly tents of flesh and blood we can and will contend and wrestle with our flesh—the carnal and sinful nature that can and will be present within us until the day we are translated at the last trump when the Lord Jesus will descend with a shout and with the voice of an archangel. The apostle Paul recognized and understood this tremendous struggle that exists within our physical beings as the flesh is constantly at odds and has enmity toward and against the Spirit. Moreover we continue to wrestle and struggle with the carnal and sinful nature which seeks to dominate and control us. This is perhaps seen in great measure in the fourth chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis when the Lord God spoke directly unto Can after he became wroth when his offering was not accepted by God and his brother Abel’ sacrifice was. You will recall in the Old Testament the Lord God spoke unto Cain concerning sin crouching at the door and seeking to gain mastery over him but he must not allow it to gain mastery over it but must instead exercise mastery and dominion over it: “Why art thou wroth? And why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him” (Genesis 4:6-7). The words and language here are absolutely undeniable and unmistakable for the living God spoke unto Cain concerning sin and how sin desired him but how he needed to rule over sin.
This particular reality and concept of mastery and dominion needed to be exercised within our physical beings over sin is perhaps best expressed and explained in the sixth and eighth chapters of the New Testament epistle written unto the saints of Rome. While the eighth chapter paints a clear and present picture of the conflict between the flesh and the Spirit which are at war and enmity with each other it also paints a powerful picture of the tremendous responsibility we have within our hearts and lives to conquer and exercise dominion over sin. What makes this so incredibly powerful when you think about it is in the first and opening chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis the living and eternal God gave man dominion and authority over all the earth and over every living thing which moved upon it. When the Lord God created man He gave him authority and dominion over every living thing which moved upon the earth, which moved in the midst of the sea, and which moved in the air. Upon the creation of man he was given dominion and authority in the midst of the earth to subdue it that he might be an extension of the authority and dominion of the one true and living God. With this being said, however, we come to the fourth chapter and find man needing to exercise an entirely different authority and dominion within the earth. Whereas upon man’s initial creation he was given dominion and authority over the earth and over everything in the midst of the earth—after the fall there would be an entirely different means and method of dominion and authority within the hearts and lives of man. What we find in the narrative of Cain and Abel is incredibly powerful for us to recognize and understand for in it we find man needing to exercise dominion and authority over something entirely different which had been introduced in the earth—namely, sin.
While it is indeed true that man was created to exercise dominion within and upon the earth over every living thing which moved upon the face of it it is also true that once sin was introduced man needed to exercise dominion and authority over something entirely and altogether different. When we come to the fourth chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis we find sin crouching at the door and creeping against and upon us seeking to gain mastery over us. The living and eternal God made it very clear to Cain that sin’s desire was for and to have him but that he must needs exercise dominion and authority over sin. As early as the fourth chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis we find this dominion and authority experiencing a shift and transition as there would now need to be authority exercised over and against sin. What we must needs recognize is that sin shall not have dominion and authority over us within our mortal bodies but we must needs exercise dominion and authority over it. Although we were created with the sinful and carnal nature in existence within our physical beings because of the transgression of Adam we must needs recognize that we were not created that sin might have dominion, authority and control over us. Despite the fact all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and despite the fact that there is this conflict and struggle between the flesh and the Spirit we must needs recognize that we were given the means to exercise authority and dominion over it. Oh dear reader would it surprise you to hear and understand that you were not created to allow sin to have dominion over you? Would it shock and surprise you to hear and understand that you were given the means to exercise dominion and authority over sin? What’s more is would you be surprised if I told you that the means whereby you exercise authority and dominion over sin is through death?
When you come to the sixth chapter of this epistle written by the apostle Paul you will notice the means whereby we are able to directly confront and combat sin as well as exercise authority and dominion over it. While the original mandate given unto Adam was restored to some degree and measure through the sacrifice and offering of the Lord Jesus we must needs recognize and understand that we have been given authority and dominion over sin and its influence and power within our lives. It is indeed true the Lord Jesus gave His disciples authority and dominion over unclean spirits to cast them out, to heal the sick, to raise the dead and to preach the gospel of the kingdom, however, we must needs recognize and understand that there is an even greater authority that exists and must be exercised within our lives. Tell me dear brother, tell me dear sister—what good is it if you can exercise authority over unclean spirits but you cannot exercise authority over the sin that is crouching at the door of your heart? What good is exercising authority over all manner of sickness and disease and yet you cannot exercise authority and dominion over the sinful nature within your physical being? Oh you might very well brag and boast that you have exercised authority and dominion over sickness, over death, over unclean spirits, over leprosy, and the like and yet what about exercising dominion and authority over the sin that is present within your own life? What about the dominion and authority that must needs be exercised against the sinful and carnal nature that constantly wars against the Spirit seeking control and dominance within your physical being? There would be those who would boast of the authority they have exercised over, against and upon unclean spirits, over disease and infirmity and over various other things in this life and yet they cannot exercise dominion and control over the sin that is present within their own physical beings. Oh consider if you will the following words which are found in the sixth chapter of this epistle beginning with the first verse of the chapter:
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might by destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:1-14).
“What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your member servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:15-23).
This particular truth surrounding dominion and authority needing to be exercised over sin must be universally recognized by any who would seek to be disciples of Christ and servants of the most High God. It is indeed true that man was originally given dominion and authority upon the earth over every living thing that moves upon it, however, when Adam transgressed against the command of the Lord and thus violated sacred law something new and entirely different was introduced into the world—something that would require dominion and authority to gain mastery over. We have a great need to recognize and pay close attention to this for although man was originally given dominion upon the earth over every living thing that moves upon it and to subdue the earth sin would introduce something new man would need to exercise dominion and authority over. When you come to the New Testament you find Jesus giving His twelve disciples and even an additional seventy whom He appointed power and authority against unclean spirits to cast them out as well as over all manner of sickness and disease. The Lord Jesus gave them authority and power to cleanse the lepers, to raise the dead and to preach the gospel unto the poor. The physician Luke records how the seventy returned rejoicing that even the demons and unclean spirits were subject to them in the name of Jesus to which Jesus instructed them to rejoice not that they exercised authority over unclean spirits but rather that their names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. What we must needs understand concerning this particular truth is that there is a greater weight and value placed on authority and dominion exercised over and against sin within our physical and natural beings than against unclean spirits.
It is indeed true that all authority in heaven and upon the earth was given unto the Lord Jesus and that He instructed His disciples to tarry in Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on high and yet we must needs recognize that this power wasn’t merely to be witnesses. The power and presence of the Holy Spirit within our lives is about more than simply being witnesses unto all the world as the disciples and followers of Jesus for the power and presence of the Spirit is about exercising authority and dominion over the carnal and sinful nature that exists within our physical beings. There would be those who make great boasts of the authority they exercise over unclean spirits and over sickness and yet in the seventh chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by Matthew we find the Lord Jesus emphatically declaring that not every one who says to Him in that day “Lord, Lord” shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. Instead those who will enter into His kingdom will be those who do the will of His Father for Jesus would go on to speak of how He will say unto certain of those who cast out unclean spirits, and prophesied in His name and did many wonderful works in His name that He never knew them. As if this weren’t bad enough He would command them to depart from them and speak of them as workers of iniquity. It is important for us to recognize and understand this for while spiritual authority over unclean spirits, over sickness, over disease and the like are indeed good and well—true spiritual authority begins with exercising authority over sin.
The more I think about and consider this particular truth the more I am brought face to face with the awesome and powerful reality that the very heart and core of spiritual authority is not exercising dominion over unclean spirits nor is it exercising authority over sickness, disease, infirmity and illness. True spiritual authority begins within oneself as they learn to exercise dominion and control over the sinful and carnal nature that exists within their physical beings. Even in the epistle written by James he speaks of one of the greatest members of the physical body to tame which is the tongue. It is in the third chapter of this epistle James highlights and underscores perhaps one of—if not the greatest members of our physical body to tame and to exercise dominion and authority over. What we must needs recognize and understand is that at the very heart and core of spiritual authority is the dominion and authority we are able to execute and exercise over a sin nature which seeks to control and gain mastery over us. What’s more is the very heart of spiritual authority is humbling ourselves in the sight of the living God who is the ultimate authority and from that place of humbling ourselves in His sight we are able to resist the devil. There is not a doubt in my mind that the greater our humility is before the living God the greater our resistance to and of the devil will be. The devil does in fact move about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, however, we must needs understand that our resistance of the devil can never and will never rise higher than our humility before and in the sight of the living God. I am absolutely and completely convinced the greater our humility is before and in the sight of the living God the greater our resistance to the devil can and will be—and not only the greater our resistance of the devil but also the greater our authority and dominion over sin in our lives. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the fourth chapter of the epistle written by James as well as the fifth chapter of the first epistle written by the apostle Peter:
“From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:1-10).
“Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 5:5-11).
With all of this being said we must needs recognize that at the very heart of spiritual authority is our humility, surrender and submission before and in the sight of the living God. To the degree and measure we humble and submit ourselves before and in the sight of the living God we are able to resist the devil knowing that when we do so he will flee from us. Moreover it is to the degree and measure we humble, surrender and submit ourselves to the living God we are able to exercise dominion and authority over sin and the flesh within our lives. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for this spiritual authority we exercise over sin, over the flesh, and over that which would war against the Spirit makes it possible for our being able to live our lives in direct fulfillment of the Law of Moses. We know that the Law of Moses can be summarized in two basic yet fundamental commandments—namely, loving the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind and with all our strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. With this in mind we have a great need to recognize that what we find beginning with the twelfth chapter of the epistle written unto the saints of Rome is a powerful invitation to engage ourselves in Christian living. Once we understand and recognize the dominion and authority that is needed over sin, over the flesh, and over our carnal nature we can truly engage ourselves in Christian living which is what the remaining chapters of this epistle are truly about. It is in chapters twelve through sixteen of this epistle where we find the apostle Paul instructing and encouraging men and women who have exercised dominion and authority over their flesh and over sin to commit themselves to living their lives as those whose lives please and bring glory unto the living God. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for the language and words we find in these chapters describe how we are to live our lives in light of being dead to sin and alive to Christ.
As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw our attention to the words found in these chapters for what is before begins with the presenting of our bodies as living sacrifices holy and acceptable unto God which is our reasonable service and yet it does not end or stop there. What begins with presenting our bodies as living sacrifices ultimately culminates in how we treat our enemies, how we treat our neighbors, how we respond to those who are in authority in the world, and even how we react to those who are weak in the faith. The words and language that is found within these chapters are incredibly necessary for us to recognize and come to terms with for those who are dead to sin and alive to Christ are alive unto a manner of living that completely revolutionizes how they live in culture and society. The language found in the first eight chapters describes our standing and relationship with the living God while the words and language in chapters twelve through sixteen describe our relationship with those whom we interact with on a consistent and daily basis. Only to the degree and measure we allow ourselves to be in right standing in the sight of the living God can we truly allow ourselves to be engaged in a manner of Christian living that is pleasing and acceptable in the sight of the living God.
The words which we find here in these chapters contain powerful language which is necessary to instruct us concerning Christian living which is essentially our response to being justified by faith according to the free gift of God in Christ Jesus. The language that is presented here is essentially our response to being justified by faith according to the free gift of grace through the person of the Lord Jesus. This must be universally recognized and understood for it is not enough to be justified by faith alone and not have some tangible demonstration and manifestation of that reality in our lives. There would be those who have described the apostle Paul as preaching justification by faith alone and James preaching justified by works and yet the two go hand in hand. The apostle Paul emphatically declared that we are justified by faith, however, that faith must needs produce fruit and works within our lives. It’s not that we are justified by those works but rather that our faith is indeed demonstrated by those works. That which James emphatically declared in the second chapter of the epistle he wrote is a powerful declaration that faith demands action and demonstration. We cannot say that we have faith and even that we have been justified by faith without and apart from fruit and works. For the apostle Paul we cannot say that we have been justified by faith without a tangible demonstration of it and for James we cannot say we have faith without and apart from works that prove and demonstrate it. The words presented in chapters twelve through sixteen of the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome are a powerful plea in light of the mercies of God—mercies which allowed us to be justified by faith according to the free gift of salvation—to not only present our bodies as living sacrifices but also to allow the work of living sacrifice to be manifested within our lives. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words and language found in these chapters concerning how we are to thus live and conduct ourselves in light of the mercies of God manifested in our lives:
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your. Mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” (Romans 12:1-3).
“Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:9-21).
“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour” (Romans 13:1-7).
“Ow no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this say, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:8-10).
“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation. Nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:11-14).
“Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth. Not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. Who art thou t hat 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. One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 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. For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be the Lord both of the dead and living” (Romans 14:1-9).