An International Center for Fellowship and Learning

Romans – Lesson 21: Self-Righteousness

Scripture Reading: Romans 14:1-12

Introduction:

In the late 1800s, robed choirs were considered worldly by some Christians.  More recently bowling, reading novels and drinking coffee or tea have been severely condemned.  Even chewing gum has come under attack.

The Bible contains many clear commands.  But it is also silent or ambiguous about many moral issues.  These “gray” areas have always been a source of dispute and conflict among Christians, even though the specific areas of dispute change from time to time.  What principles should guide us when our actions are criticized by others or when we feel critical toward them?

Paul refers to the weak and the strong, and the strongest admonition is saved for the strong who oftentimes become so certain they are right that they become self-righteous.  Those who feel that strongly, oftentimes, condemn those who don’t abide by the rules of the strong.

Condemnation is wrong for three specific reasons: we are all servants of God and therefore it is not right to condemn another servant, secondly, the fact that the practices of others differ from ours, they grow from a common root – all are done in order to honor God, and thirdly, it is God and not man who judges in such manners.

It is dangerous to set up something other than God as God, in this case, oneself and one’s own preferences.  Many times those convictions that we have are simply traditions that have been handed down from generation to generation, and have little, if any, Biblical basis.  Before we criticize another, we need to be able to support our own convictions.

Lesson Questions:

  1. What are some of the areas of dispute between the “weak” and the “strong” in Romans 14:1-6?  How are we to accept other believers who disagree with us on secondary issues of doctrine (Romans 14:1)?  By what aspect of living does Paul show how we may differ in opinion on certain issues and still accept each other (Romans 14:2)?  What types of behavior do Christians disagree about today?
  2. What attitudes do the weak and the strong tend to have toward each other (Romans 14:1-4)?  Why might they feel this way?
  3. What admonition and caution is given to be positively sure that we are living biblically (Romans 14:5-6)?
  4. Why is it unacceptable just to live the way we want to live (Romans 14:7-9)?
  5. What inevitable judgment must we all face (Romans 14:10-11)?
  6. What will be required of each person on the Day of Judgment (Romans 14:12)?
  7. Why is it wrong to pass judgment on other Christians (Romans 14:1-13)?