Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Romans Chapter 14
Metaphysically Interpreting Romans 14:1-12
14:1But him that is weak in faith receive ye, yet not for decision of scruples. 14:2One man hath faith to eat all things: but he that is weak eateth herbs. 14:3Let not him that eateth set at nought him that eateth not; and let not him that eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. 14:4Who art thou that judgest the servant of another? to his own lord he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be made to stand; for the Lord hath power to make him stand.
14:5One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let each man be fully assured in his own mind. 14:6He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord: and he that eateth, eateth unto the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, unto the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
14:7For none of us liveth to himself, and none dieth to himself. 14:8For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; or whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. 14:9For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
14:10But thou, why dost thou judge thy brother? or thou again, why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of God. 14:11For it is written,
As I live, saith the Lord, to me every knee shall bow,
And every tongue shall confess to God.
14:12So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God.
Metaphysically Interpreting Romans 14:13-23
14:13Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge ye this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock in his brother's way, or an occasion of falling.14:14I know, and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean of itself: save that to him who accounteth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 14:15For if because of meat thy brother is grieved, thou walkest no longer in love. Destroy not with thy meat him for whom Christ died. 14:16Let not then your good be evil spoken of: 14:17for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 14:18For he that herein serveth Christ is well-pleasing to God, and approved of men. 14:19So then let us follow after things which make for peace, and things whereby we may edify one another.14:20Overthrow not for meat's sake the work of God. All things indeed are clean; howbeit it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. 14:21It is good not to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor to do anything whereby thy brother stumbleth. 14:22The faith which thou hast, have thou to thyself before God. Happy is he that judgeth not himself in that which he approveth. 14:23But he that doubteth is condemned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith; and whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
June 20, 1897: Romans 14:10-21
10. You must not “judge your brother” with unrighteous judgment of seeing him sick, nor condemn (“set at nought”) him for lack of understanding. You must bring him into the white light of the Christ presence, “the judgment seat of Christ,” seeing him holy, whole and Divine. This is the Christ’s “righteous judgment.”
11. When every thought of my mind-world is meekly submissive, confesses its allegiance to the law of Christ, then is the kingdom of heaven fully come; then will all external manifestations be changed to the “beauty of holiness.”
12. I have only myself to account for. When my own thought-world has been brought into this perfect harmonious relation to the Christ, then will my brother, who looks to me for healing, begin to manifest the same Divine wholeness.
13. But, if I see my brother ah coming short of Divine perfection, that adverse judgment will be a “stumbling block” to make him fall.
l4. It is the unqualified doctrine of the Christ that “there is no evil,” no sickness, nothing “unclean of itself” – only to him who “esteemeth” it so. See truly, and there is no evil to see. This is the panacea for all seeming inharmonies.
15. Even if thy brother sees evil in thee, it is because thou has not given him thy Christian love; for your environment can be controlled by your thoughts.
16. Your “good will not be evil spoken of, if only love flows out in your thoughts. Love begets Love, not offense.
17. For the kingdom of God is not in external doctrines; but it is internal righteousness, peace and joy in the consciousness of the Holy Spirit within.
18. For he that in these internal essentials serveth Christ has the approval of both God and men, so that no evil can come to him; “your good will not be evil spoken of.”
19. “Let us therefore follow after the interior righteousness, that we may have the peace of God that paaseth all understanding for mutual upbuilding.
20. For the Sake of external forms do not sacrifice the pure heart love, the interior principle of religion. All the externals of doctrine are pure and proper, when viewed from the standpoint of the spiritual, whence they sprang, but are evil in their effect on him, who sees not the substance of Truth beneath the external form.
21. In the Spiritual sense eating and drinking refer to the appropriation and assimilation of Truth. Flesh and wine are the stronger doctrines, which the weak in understanding cannot receive without producing Spiritual dyspepsia. Therefore, we should refrain from making our highest statements of Truth to those who cannot bear them; “I have many things to say to you, but ye cannot bear them now.”
The next two verses give us a good self-treatment. “Hast thou faith (understanding)? Have it in respect to thyself; apply your understanding of Truth to thyself. “Happy is he who does hot hold himself in condemnation of disease.
He that doubteth is damned, if he eat.” If you are trying to overcome dyspepsia, do not eat, doubting your ability to digest. If you do your doubt will bring all the damning effects you had feared.
“Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made you free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
April 19, 1903: Romans 14:17-23
This text is given as the foundation of a temperance lesson. It would better fit one on equity and justice. But we may apply it metaphysically to the equipoise between mind and body, which, when established, will eradicate that false craving for stimulants, which is at the root of nearly all intemperance. If the sense consciousness is given its just dues, the desire for material stimulant will be satisfied with spiritual energy. A strong desire in the consciousness for a fuller realization of energy leads most people to stimulants.
The remedy then is, substitute the real stimulant for the false. So long as man wants, he will seek the satisfaction of that want in one way or another. If whiskey is taken away from the drunkard, and nothing given him in its place, he will continue to crave it. If he be given a substitute, he will transfer his desire to that, for instance, morphine or cocaine. But, if he be given the real life element, which is the “more abundant life” mentioned by Jesus, he will find his desire in possession of its own, and both he and his friends will see, that it was not evil but good seeking satisfaction.
The first step, then, in healing the drunkard in ourselves or another, is to withdraw all condemnation and censure, and affirm the law of love. There is a very close connection in Being between Love and Life. When we love one and pour out to them that subtle essence of the soul, which stirs the heart-centre, till it glows like a furnace, we are moving to action the life energies of Being, and a great law of mind equilibrium is fulfilled. Thus “He that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.”
A man once testified that he healed himself of drunkenness by saying, whenever the desire for liquor came on him, “I do not love whiskey, I love God.” Here, was a practical application of the law of love to the healing of desire, lost in the wilderness of sense. The sense-man is constantly reaching out for the more abundant things of existence. This is right. The Spirit within is constantly saying, “Let the children of Israel go forward.” We drink the bitter waters and are bitten by the serpents of sense, whenever we try to satisfy this inner craving from the mortal plane. This craving is satisfied only with the higher things. Our desires are from God and must be fulfilled in a Godlike way. This sense man must be “lifted up as Moses lilted up the serpent in the wilderness.”
The minds of those whose bodies are saturated with the lust for tea, coffee, tobacco and liquor, are in darkness. They are asleep in sense thought, which is a state of coma. Those, who are in the light, can help them to dissipate this darkness, by casting off the “works of darkness.” Deny for them, that they are mentally bound to the various thoughts, that make up the drunkard's world. Say with the conviction of authority, “Awake thou that sleepest and Christ shall give thee light.”
“Put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” These lusts of the flesh are many and they help one another. For instance, it is found by actual experiment, that abstaining from meat lessens the appetite for liquors. It is said that there never was a vegetarian drunkard. Meat sets up a fever in the stomach, that calls for something to cool it and we drink more than the system needs in consequence. Those who abstain from meat find that they do not care for tea and coffee. There are tea and coffee drunkards, and they need healing along with other boozy ones who make provision for the flesh.
- UNITY magazine
September 21, 1913: Romans 14:12-23
Paul was a “Pharisee of the Pharisees”, according to his own confession; nevertheless, he was unusually tolerant and recognized the necessity of individual freedom. “Where Christ is, there is liberty.” We should beware how we let our zeal to help others interfere with their liberty of choice. We are accountable to the Divine Law, and we should as helpers confine ourselves to teaching and demonstrating in our lives its principles. “So then each one of us shall give an account of himself to God.”
Do not judge others, but strive to remove their limitations. The “stumbling-blocks”, at first sight, seem to be in the environment, but a closer discernment reveals that they are primarily in the mind. Then we should not put additional weight into the already existing stumbling-blocks by filling them with the “thought-stuff” of condemnation.
“To the pure, all things are pure.” “Nothing is unclean of itself.” The essence of all things is Spirit. God is Spirit; therefore, all things are God – Good. Does this mean that poison, whiskey, tobacco, and the many enemies to man’s well-being are good? Whatever life and power these possess is of the One Mind and they must therefore have place in the Divine Economy. It is the relation of things that determines their good or evil in man’s constitution. The essential elements of all things are good. But man has power to subject a good thing to conditions that throws it out of harmony with its natural law. Corn is one of our most highly prized cereals, but it can be put through a process of fermentation and produce a fluid called alcohol. This fluid is not in itself evil – it makes a good fire – but, when placed in man's stomach, it sets afire the whole nervous system.
So there is evidently a right place for everything in the universe, and “nothing is unclean of itself.” It is the combinations of ignorance that make havoc. Beware the concoctions of the druggist – and the thrifty housewife. The proportions put into the products of Mother Nature are proper, and man will eventually discover that he cannot improve upon them – then even cooking will cease.
“The kingdom of God is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. This is such a self-evident truth, that it needs no comment. The question is, How shall we attain the Kingdom? Only by understanding the law and following it. The law of God, in creating man, cannot be changed, hence it must be found and obeyed. Jesus said that not one jot or tittle of the Law should pass away, until all was fulfilled. He knew the Law, and he is a good guide, and we find that his methods prove that they are founded on a Principle. Hence, “he that serveth Christ in these things is acceptable to God, and approved of men.” Christ is the God-mind, that Jesus proved existed at the center of man's being.
“It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor to do anything whereby thy brother stumbleth.” This is good plain Scripture teaching in matters, that many are asking about. Putting aside the question of how meat, whiskey and tobacco affect you, ask yourself how your demand for them is putting stumbling-blocks in the way of others. The noxious tobacco sweat-shop, the reeking packing-house and the brewery vats are pouring forth their products, because men demand them. If you are demanding any of these things, you are helping to perpetuate them. True reform begins at home.
– UNITY magazine
SUNDAY, MAY 2, 1915: Romans 14:10-21
SILENT PRAYER: Create in me a clean body, a pure heart and a wise mind.
It is a very great thing to know that no man has a right to judge another. This is strongly emphasized in the teaching of Jesus and Paul. “Judge not, lest ye be judged,” thunders Jesus, and Paul appealingly asks, “Why dost thou judge thy brother?”
Every knee shall bow to God and every tongue confess him. We are accountable to the Divine Law and when we refer all the acts of men to it, an adjustment is made far beyond our understanding. If we were as careful of our own thoughts and acts as we are of others the world would soon be reformed. When tempted to judge another, try at once to be perfect yourself right along the line on which you are passing judgment. By observing this rule, you will put no stumbling-blocks in your brother's way.
In the fourteenth verse of this lesson, Paul lays down the law of the Absolute, which is that man in supreme degree, [like] the Lord Jesus, has power to make things conform to his viewpoint. This is the teaching of all metaphysicians, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” It is man's nature to have dominion, to form, to dominate, but, in the exercise of this innate power, he should remember to make the most advantageous adjustment with his environment.
Man can so dominate the functions of his body, that they will do that which is opposed to the law of their being. This is noticeably true of the stomach; it can be made to digest food that is detrimental to the whole system. Sailors shipwrecked in Bering Sea found the natives making a regular diet of decayed fish. They were a sorry lot, as the result of such food, but it seemed good to them. It is said that, in certain parts of England, chickens are not considered prime, until the flesh is so rotten that it can be pulled off the bones with the hands. In America men and women train their stomachs to digest the most noxious messes under the delusion that it is food.
But how about the stumbling-block? Who is “thy brother” for whom Christ died? Is he not the body-man, the brother of the soul, whom Christ comes to save, to lift up? If, in your ignorance, you pot a stumbling-block in his way, you are destroying him. Byron said. “The eating of meat makes me ferocious.” Experiments with dogs prove that a vegetable diet makes them docile and kind, while a flesh diet causes them to be ferocious.
If both men and animals are singularly affected by certain kinds of diet, does it not point to a law running through nature, and should we not take the hint and observe this law? “The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Following after the things that make for peace and edification of another brings us naturally to that state, where we will not eat flesh, nor drink wine, nor do anything whereby our brother stumbleth.
- UNITY magazine
SUNDAY, JUNE 21, 1931: Romans 14:13-23
What had been the apostle Paul’s early training? According to his own confession, Paul was “a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees.” Nevertheless, he was unusually tolerant and recognized the necessity of individual freedom. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” We should beware how we let our zeal to help others interfere with their liberty of choice.
Does the law hold us accountable for our own acts? Yes. We are accountable to the divine law, and as helpers of God, we should confine ourselves to teaching and demonstrating its principles in our life. “So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God.”
Explain this verse: “Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge ye this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock in his brother’s way, on an occasion of falling.” This verse means that we should not judge others, but should strive to remove their limitations by freeing them in our own mind. A “stumblingblock” at first sight seems to be in the environment, but a closer discernment reveals that it exists primarily in the mind. Then we should not put additional weight into already existing stumbling-blocks, by filling them with the thought stuff of condemnation.
To those who are pure-minded, is anything unclean? No. “To the pure all things are pure.” “Nothing is unclean of itself.” The essence of all things is Spirit. God is Spirit; therefore, all things are of God – good.
Does this mean that poison, whisky, tobacco, and the other enemies of man’s well-being are good? Whatever life and power these possess are of the one Mind, an as such are good. It is the relation of things that determines their good or evil in man’s constitution. Man has power to use that which is good in a wrong way. Corn is one of our most highly prized cereals, but it can be put through a process of fermentation and produce a fluid called alcohol. This fluid is not in itself evil – it makes a good fire – but, when placed in man's stomach, it sets afire the whole nervous system.
Is it good not to eat the flesh of animals? Spiritual-minded people find that cereals, vegetables, fruits, and nuts contain nourishment in abundance; that man is healthier and clearer in mind, when he subsists on a strictly vegetarian diet. This being true, there is no occasion for taking the life of birds or animals for food. Let us learn to “live and let live.”
October 29, 1933: Romans 14:15-21
What great urge is within everyone? Everyone has within him, sometimes deep below the surface, sometimes plainly evident, an urge to do good and to influence others to do so.
How should this divine urge always be used? This urge, which is one of the traits of man, if it is to fulfill itself, must be seen and not heard. Like the giving of alms, it permits no conferences between the right hand and the left, if it would avoid defeating it own end.
How do modern thinkers size up a man that talks overmuch of brotherly love and that sort of thing? Their judgment is that, when a man talks overmuch of serving his fellow man, he is pretty sure to be slippery or dishonorable in his personal transactions.
What is the reason for this pessimism? The reason is found in the fact that talk is a cheap substitute for action, and that, where action is needed, no satisfactory substitute is to be found, or will in general be tolerated.
In what source did the problem of temperance originate? This is not definitely known. The problem of temperance antedates the known history of man and is hinted at in the allegory of the Garden of Eden with its forbidden fruit.
What does today’s lesson reveal? It reveals that, two thousand years ago, the writer of Romans thought it high time that men saw and understood the principles of this subject, and he tried to stir them to the task, by holding before them the privilege of setting a good example.
Should man exercise freedom in the use of liquor? In Truth man can exercise perfect freedom only in the Lord. It is this understanding of freedom, which man is craving, and which he can attain only through spiritual obedience.
Who is the great exemplar of divine obedience? Jesus Christ. He said, ”To this end have I been born, and to this end am I come into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.” Everyone, who has been privileged to come into the world in the form and fashion of man, has come to that same end: to bear witness to his true nature, to obey his instinctive urge to right conduct, and to make himself the son of God.
SUNDAY, JUNE 30, 1935: Romans 14:13-21
Is conscience a reliable guide where others are involved? Only when illumined by love for others is conscience a safe guide in such cases.
Are we responsible for our influence over others even if it is exerted unconsciously? Indirectly we are, since we make our own character, and it is in character that influence has its origin.
To whom does the text "Am I my brother's keeper?" apply most closely? In degree it applies to every one, but it has especial application to those who have won the victory over self, and who by reason of their experience are able to help others more successfully than the average person can do.
Which is the higher, the right of the individual or the right of all, where the two are incompatible? The right of all takes precedence over the right of the individual, where the two conflict.
Is liberty ever really lost through self-restraint? No, a greater measure of liberty in Christ is gained through every successful act of self-discipline.
From what does true liberty deliver one? From bondage to the appetites and lusts of the flesh, into freedom to live according to the Christ purity and Truth.
Can eating and drinking be made a service to God? When we recognize in food and drink the substance of Spirit, and partake of both with thankfulness and joy, the act of eating and drinking becomes a sacrament.
The "house of God" is the body. We now understand physical laws sufficiently to know the effect of intemperance on the body. No one can honestly plead ignorance in this regard.
October 30, 1938: Romans 14:21
What is the highest ground on which to establish oneself in abstinence? The ground of setting the pace of being a right example to others is the highest and best reason yet advanced for abstinence. Individual health and well-being are other good reasons, but the good of the individual is secondary to that of society. It is good not to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor to do anything whereby thy brother stumbleth.”
October 25, 1942: Romans 14:19-21
What is the chief power that makes for peace? Unselfishness, the thinking and doing of the “things whereby we may edify one another.”
March 26, 1944: Romans 14:19-21
What task confronts us first? The task of learning to live at peace with ourselves and our fellow men. As we become conscious of our oneness with all in Spirit, we shall work to keep peace throughout the whole world.
In what chief respects is a man of more value than a sheep? In his power to reflect, to decide upon a course of action, and to act on his own initiative, instead of blindly following a leader. In his use of the I AM to identify himself with what he chooses, and in his effort to gain conscious realization of his purposes and desires. He can overcome his defects and make himself more than he was in the beginning, and better.
How can we follow the things that make for peace and build the consciousness of peace in the thought of the race? By fixing our thoughts on peace, by educating youth in its ways, by realizing it in ourselves as we grow conscious of the Christ within us, and by making it a universal ideal. We can acquaint ourselves with other nations and peoples, as well as races, while among ourselves we develop the humility and simplicity of spirit that removes conscious superiority and makes universal realization of peace possible.
What constructive attitude should the individual hold? That of unity of spirit and the ideal of thinking and living so truly and earnestly that others will be inspired by his example to do their best also.
Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 10-29-2013