Bear with the Failings of Your Weak Brother

Many in the church today appeal to chapter fourteen of Romans regarding the issue of whether or not Christians who are ‘free in Christ’ ought to drink alcohol in the presence of their so-called ‘weak’ brother. They argue that by doing so, the ‘weak’ brother will be caused to stumble into sin. In this context, the obstacle or stumbling block put in the weaker brother’s way could not merely cause him to sin, but to fall away and prove himself to have not been a believer in the first place. The issue of sin for the weaker brother is primarily doing something which goes against his conscience over a long period of time. This conflict or trespass of conscience could then pour over into other issues of life, causing him to neglect even the greater matters of obedience to the Lord. The ‘strong’ who are confident in their own convictions, ought to be sensitive to the differing degrees of faith held by his brothers and sisters in Christ—ready and willing to forgo their freedom in partaking of an alcoholic beverage for the sake of the gospel, and their brother for whom Christ died. The goal in all this is that Christ would be displayed in one’s life and relationships as the supreme example of loving self-sacrifice for the glory of God and the unity of his people.

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