One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.
In Romans 14, Paul addressed a controversy in the church at Rome that had to do with the observance of special days. In Romans 14:5-6, Paul said, “One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God.”
Many people believe Paul was talking about the Sabbath. The Jews worshipped on Saturdays, and they had all kinds of restrictions about what you could and could not do on the Sabbath. When they became Christians, many Jewish converts brought their restrictions about the Sabbath into their Christian worship on Sundays. They said, “There are certain things you cannot do on Sundays.” Other Christians said, “As long as we worship God on Sundays, we are free to do whatever we want.” We find the same thing going on today. Many Christians believe there are restrictions concerning what you should not do on Sundays: you shouldn’t shop, you shouldn’t go out to eat, and you sure shouldn’t go to the movies. But to others, Sunday is just like any other day. They say they have freedom. Some people who say they have this freedom point to Mark 2:27, which says, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” Jesus said the reason God gave the Sabbath was not for us to help it; instead, the Sabbath was a gift to us.
Colossians 2 gives further insight into which days Paul may have been referring to in Romans 14:5. He may have been referring to not just the Sabbath, but the keeping of certain Jewish feasts. In Colossians 2:16-17, Paul said, “Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day–things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.” All the Old Testament days of worship and feasts were a shadow pointing toward Jesus Christ. Now that Jesus, the substance, has come, why would you go back and worship the shadow? Yet some Jews did. Paul was saying, “Hey, if they want to do it, then let them do it. If they don’t want to do it, then let them not do it. This is a matter of personal preference.” What was Paul teaching us in these verses about the issue of diet, days, and other doubtful things? He was simply saying: Live and let live. Let people be persuaded in their own mind. Do not judge other people.
It is important to remember that these issues did not relate to salvation. These were merely lifestyle issues. So Paul said, “Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.” If you want to follow the restrictions, great. But do not force those restrictions on other people.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Drinking, Dancing, And Doubtful Things” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.