September 19, 2023
Today’s Reading: Romans 14:1-12
For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. (Romans 14:7-8)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. In 1 Corinthians 6 and 7, Paul says, “You were bought with a price.” There is tremendous comfort in the knowledge that “we are the Lord’s.” As the Catechism teaches, Christ “purchased and won [us] from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, that [we] may be His own…”
But what does life as God’s people look like? If that’s our question, we’re in luck. It seems like half of the New Testament was written to describe life as the people purchased and won by Christ. In our reading today, Paul is dealing with meat sacrificed to idols, observing religious days, and Christians with weak consciences. It boils down to this: don’t use your freedom in Christ to erect a stumbling block that could scandalize your brother or sister in Christ. In 1 Corinthians 8, Paul deals with the issue in more detail. He basically says that, even if we know that idols aren’t real (since there’s only one God), we ought to pay attention to our neighbor in Christ, who may not understand that idols have no power, and if we participate in eating food that was sacrificed to an idol, their conscience may be defiled and throw them into confusion or despair.
A similar situation might arise today around a Christian’s participation in Halloween. If a new Christian only knows Halloween to be the commercial holiday that seems focused on the occult, you could understand their reluctance to allow their kids to dress up and beg for candy…The important reminder Paul gives us in Romans 14 is that our lives are not our own; and we’re charged to live these lives–created by God, redeemed by Christ, and being sanctified by the Holy Spirit–with that in mind. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
No saint on earth lives life to self alone or dies alone, for we with Christ are one. So if we live, for Christ alone we live, and if we die, to Christ our dying give. In living and in dying this confess: We are the Lord’s safe in God’s faithfulness. For to this end our Lord by death was slain, that to new life He might arise again. Through sorrow on to triumph Christ has led, and reigns o’er all: the living and the dead. In living and in dying, Him we bless; we are the Lord’s, safe in God’s faithfulness. Amen. (LSB 747)
-Pastor Dustin Beck is pastor at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Corpus Christi, Texas.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Jonathan Lackey is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, Vine Grove, Ky.
Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.