This is an article written by Gail at Biet Simcha (House of Rejoicing) - we thought it was "spot on". It discusses something that has been our hearts for years. Something we have witnessed and discussed time and time again as we try to discern truth, search the Scriptures and do as YHVH has called us.
We see the nature of man demonstrated and repeated from the Scriptures to present day in His people. It is our nature to grab hold of nuggets of truth and then "expound apon them" using Greek thinking (if this ....than that) and then 3 layers of "that" later we are way OFF the mark.
There is a term that another teachers used a few years ago that we love. Instead of the word Christianity it is more like "Brickianity", in other words a ridged set of interpretations that give no room for growth or revelation and in fact are not Scriptural. It is a mind set in which people think they "got it figured out". The idea that there is nothing more to be said on the subject. It is in reality, an unteachable spirit within the confines of established religion. Who established this religion? Man. Oh sure He uses the Bible to justify or even "prove" His doctrine, but He is not open to there being a possibility that He is wrong...even by a little bit. If it does - His whole house of religious cards crumbles.
What about faith? What about letting the Spirit lead? What about the rules and guidelines given straight from the Creator Himself? (Torah) What about the words given directly from The Messiah Himself? These things seem to have been traded for doctrines of man...The Spirit is calling His people back...Yahshua is calling His people back to The Scriptures...back to Torah. When we do that - we will rightly be able to discern "Disputable Matters" more appropriately.
Disputable Matters prt 2
Anyone who takes a fresh look at the scriptures, and from a hebraic understanding will at one time have to deal with Romans 14. Romans 14 has been used to promote the idea that what God once said in His Word is now changed. I won't post the entire text of Romans 14, but you'll have to read them again for this post to make sense.
Originally, the scriptures did not have chapter and verse breaks, so it we should look at the preceding and following chapters to get the real essence of context. Context is everything.
Here is the last verse of Romans 13: But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ and make not provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof. (Rom 13:14). In this chapter, we had a call to live a life in the Spirit not the flesh. This theme is continued in chapter 14 too. What is the goal of the spirit filled life? Yahshua tells us that all the law and prophets of God (the only scriptures that they had available at the time, remember the New Testament was not written yet) can be summed up in this: love the Lord your God.....and love your neighbor as yourself. (Mat. 22 :36-40)
Romans 14 speaks of how to love your neighbor as yourself in the context of living among those who are new to the faith, or are struggling with their faith in a variety of issues. It is really important to glean all we can from Romans 14 because we too encounter those either new to the faith or are struggling with some issues of faith.
Romans 14:1 says "Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters." Note carefully the phrase, "disputable matters" - it is key to understanding what Paul is really talking about.
Disputable matters are just that - matters that can be argued or debated or disputed. These are things which arise out of man made tradition, borne out of man's opinions and leanings and not God's commandments. That is vital to understand.
God's commandments are not disputable. God said it and its final. No argument, lol! Unless you want to argue with Him! (no thank you) So keep in mind that it is only 'disputable matters' that are being discussed - not points of what God has said.
Whether to eat unclean meats is a point of God's Word- and thus not a disputable matter. Those at the time of Yahshua and Paul who were in Covenant with God did not eat unclean meats, they were not food, period. However, whether to eat only veggies, presumably so as not to inadvertently eat clean meats sacrificed to idols, was a disputable matter. Eating only veggies could be debated. It was a personal choice. Eating unclean meats was not disputable.
So too, verse 5, 6:" One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord".
Here again, we are talking about 'disputable matters':in this case, sacred days, special days. So what special or sacred days are disputable matters?
Here is a matter that is not disputable, as understood in Yahshua's time: God set the 7th day as the Sabbath and made it holy. (Gen 2:3). God set the Feast days to be on particular times of the year and for particular reasons. God set the calendar of what we are to celebrate. These were indisputable at the time of Yahshua and Paul. And should still be indisputable now.
The disputable matters as to special days were fast days and special prayer days. Extra-biblical history bears this out. Some sects fasted on Wednesdays, others, on Thursdays. Each group often considreed that 'their day' was the only right one, yet God never spoke on these issues.
Here we are being told to walk in the Spirit and not the flesh by esteeming our brother better than our self (Php 2:3) by not giving occasion to stumble them. We are being encouraged: don't find fault with them if they fear evil spirits (possibly) inhabiting food - clean meat sacrificed to idols which was bought in the marketplace, (though you know better that any evil of the idol can not enter into you.) But the new- in- the- faith do not yet have this understanding, so until they increase in their faith that way, don't offer them clean meat. You can do without the steak dinner in their company, lol!. And don't judge them if they only fast on Wednesdays but you fast on Tuesdays. (of course I am paraphrasing)
There is such richness and value in understanding Roman's 14 this way - pertaining to disputable matters and not God's law, because it preserves the integrity of the whole of scriptures. Then, it remains one long, continuous love letter to us - not some disjointed missive suggesting a fickle god who changes his mind about how we can best live our lives.
This is a really GOOD MESSAGE! How many times have we stumbled one another or hurt one another in *disputable matters* such as what day to worship (which is different than what day the Sabbath is), how long our skirts should be, how to homeschool..., what political party to support, oh, the list goes on.
Romans 14 is telling us that in regard to disputable matters, in the end, we can honor God with our lives and our hearts, even though our choices are completely divergent. But we just can not say the same about the INdisputable things of God and we really do need to learn that distinction.
That is why the Old testament, which gives us the INdisputable things of God is so vital to have as our foundation.
To stay true to the character and nature of both God and man, it just can not be right that it is no longer God's law which chooses what is clean or unclean, rather our own decision. (Pro 30:12; Isa 5:21;Jdg 17:6)
We just can not determine what is right in our own eyes, even us Spirit-filled Believers. It is as we come to relationship with God and continue that way on His terms that we find our greatest fulfillment.
By taking Him out of the equation - by not using His instructions, the very ones that Yahshua walked out so perfectly for us - we rob ourselves of the beauty of that to which we were created. Lets follow those things which are indisputable and encouage one another to follow them.
But in disputable matters? Let's all learn to get along with our different ways of expressing our faith and not make these expressions mandatory on others.
(But wait...theres more! Part 2)
I mentioned Romans 14 in an earlier post on Disputable Matters saying that these words of Paul's have been used by some teachers to mean things they simply can not mean.
Have you ever come across the interpretation that Romans 14 is saying that we can now choose any day of the week as Sabbath, as long as we are convinced of it in our own minds? Here is the passage in question. The highlighted sentences are the passages that have been used to promote this idea.
1Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
5One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
Sure, if these three sentences are pulled from their context, they can be made to sound just about however someone wants them to. But is that appropriate when dealing with scripture interpretation? Or do we need to look at those verses within the contexts of the sentences before and after them? I believe we do. What is the context?
Here is the passage again, with a few key words highlighted.
1Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.5One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
If you read in Luke 18, you can see that it was a practice of the Pharisees to fast twice a week.
"Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.' "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'
I pray that now, no one reading this can think this passage is talking about Sabbath at all, because there is nothing in the passage to suggest that. It's all about food - vegetables and clean meats. Not God's special covenant sign to His people called Sabbath.
No, this is not that ever elusive passage permitting us to change what God has already set for us in terms of Sabbath. In fact, no one can find that passage, for it does not exist. Nowhere in all of the scriptures does it say that we can determine when to observe God's Sabbath.
So, what the verses are saying is this: if a person fasted, on certain days, that's fine. If a person DID NOT choose to FAST, or did not fast on certain days, that is fine too. If a person choose not to eat clean meats for fear of it having been offered to idols before being sold in the marketplaces, then don't stumble this brother by offering them clean meats.
I am sure this little study won't settle it for everyone reading this, but I pray that at least it will cause you to prayerfully seek God so He can settle it for you!
If you would like to learn more about Gail and her family, see her interview for Home Shalom.
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Welcome to Home Shalom and Shalom Farm. We pray your visit here be blessed. We are learning to walk in the Ways (Torah) of our Father YHWH and follow Y'shua, His Messiah until He returns to "set things straight". We call it a "Messi-Life". Our walk is neither tidy nor perfect, but it is filled with passion, devotion and desire to serve our King. We are learning to be humble servants, and to be good stewards of the things that He has entrusted to us: His Word, our marriage, our children, our family, our community, our health, and our farm. Hitch your horse and stay a while--our door is always open!