Romans chapter 14 is in my opinion the most pivotal chapter in the Word of God concerning relationships between believers. This chapter also gives the streamline and basic fundamental principles of Kingdom living for the people of God.
We are living in ages of social dilemma’s that shape the political landscape of our nation. Every issue that we look at, points to the rules of conduct for our leaders and our citizens. For the believer, the kingdom of God has certain guidelines and principles that are to guide our lives concerning relationships with others, ourselves and our King. Paul in this chapter approaches those principles in verse 17. He says, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” This indicates it is not the matter of our liberty or lack of liberty in certain areas that allows us the joy of the kingdom.
The three elements of kingdom living emphasized by Paul are; righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. These three elements can only be received as a gift from the King; they cannot be earned through performance. They are matters of the heart and spirit, not of the will and flesh.
This leads us to the present condition of the church. Most churches spend the majority of their time trying to discover what is right and wrong. As a result of this we accumulate a list of sins, as well as patterns of behavior that leads to sin. If we focused on the heart of God and the word of God then I believe we would accomplish much more.
Jesus declared in the Gospel of John 3:18, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” The key thought is to believe. Faith unlocks the door to salvation and the grace of God. With that said consider what Paul said in Romans 14:23 “for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”
This is not a profound thought but a reminder of some things. When we establish a list of sins like; adultery, lying, stealing, envy, jealousy, and taking God’s name in vain, we need to remember that the sin has already occurred before the actions ever manifest. The sin according to Paul is the lack of faith. From a lack of faith any known action of sin can manifest in anyone given the right situation. Therefore any believer is vulnerable to any known act of sin if we walk in a lack of faith. This brings up the question, how many people are walking in sin and never even realize it until the action manifests?
Satan knows what situation or circumstance to surround us with at the time when we are walking in a lack of faith to bring about any given action of sin. Be careful when you say you would never commit a certain action.
Now based on this what do we do? Paul says in verse 23 “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” At its most basic root, faith is total dependence on God. Whatever makes us independent will lead to a lack of faith and leave us vulnerable to manifest whatever action of sin the situations of life will call for. Therefore we need to understand some basic principles.
1. Your strength can become your weakness.
It is important that we understand that the enemy wants to do damage to that part of you that does his kingdom of darkness the most damage. Satan targets our strength more than our weakness. It is our strength that does him the most damage. The spiritual gift that you operate in is the area that you could become weak in. We have the tendency to forget that it is the Spirit of God that enables us not we ourselves. The preacher can become independent of God in his preaching and begin to think that it is his ability rather than God ability that enables him to declare the Word of God with power. Don’t forget that it is God that enables us to do all things.
2. Your weakness will become your strength.
Paul describes this principle in 2 Corinthians 12 in his conversation with the Lord. With regard to Paul’s thorn in the flesh, God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” In our weakness, we then begin to trust God. Our weakness then is transformed into our weakness. The perception of the church is that our weakness must never be seen or talked about when in fact after our weakness is manifest and then taken to the Father, we at that point have the choice to trust the Father more deeply and are transformed into His strength.
3. Prolonged circumstance will cause you to become independent of God.
David said in Ps. 13, “How long will hide your face from me O Lord.” When we are faced with a circumstance of trouble over a prolonged period of time we begin to attempt to work things out for ourselves instead of waiting on God. When we engage our will to work things out on our own we are walking independently from God.
Conclusion: Instead of looking so intently on the manifestations of sin we should be looking at the root cause, which is a lack of faith. Trusting the Father will keep us walking in the Spirit and we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.