Book of Romans Paraphrase by E.H. "Jack" Sequeira
Paraphrase of the Book of Romans
1 When a fellow believer is overscrupulous and therefore weak in faith, please do not question his or her conversion. But accept that person as a Christian. 2 For we all come from different backgrounds [such as Jewish or Gentile] and, therefore, do not think alike when it comes to the Christian walk. For example, one believer may feel it is all right to eat anything while another, whose beliefs are somewhat less-informed, will eat only vegetables. 3 The Christian who feels he can eat anything must not look down on the one who doesnt feel that way. Likewise, the one who wont eat certain things must not condemn the believer who does. After all, both believers are equally accepted in Gods sight.
Judging One Another
4 When it comes to non-fundamentals, no Christian has the right to pass judgment on the views of another Christian, just as one person cannot pass judgment on another mans servant. After all, each servant is answerable to his own boss and it is the master who decides what is acceptable or unacceptable behavior from his servant. As Christians, Christ is our Lord and Master and each believer is accountable to Him. 5 For instance, a Christian of Jewish background may be particular about observing the feast days of the Old Testament while another, being a Gentile, makes no distinction between feast days and other days. Each believer must honestly decide what is right in these gray areas of Christian living.
6 The Jewish believer who feels he must continue to observe the feast days, does it out of a deep commitment to God. Similarly, the Gentile believer who feels that feast days are no longer valid does so out of a sincere conviction that the Lord no longer requires believers to keep them. Both are honest in their convictions, but neither must impose their views on the other. The same applies when it comes to eating; while believers may disagree as to what can be eaten, nevertheless, each believer is to eat to please the Lord. 7 For to be a true Christian means denying self and living a life well-pleasing to God in all matters [1 Cor. 10:31-33].
8 Genuine Christianity requires each believer to submit oneself to the formula of the Gospel, Not I, but Christ [Gal. 2:20]. And this, even if it means laying down our lives in the process. In other words, whether we live or die, a true Christian is completely committed to the will of God. 9 The cross of Christ demands such an attitude, since Christ redeemed us by His death and resurrection so that we may totally belong to Him in life and in death.
10 In view of this, Christians do not have the prerogative of judging each other. That right belongs to God alone and we shall all stand before His judgment seat, each to give an account of oneself. 11 This is how God, in the Old Testament, put it: As the sovereign Lord I will judge every person according to the truth he or she is convicted of. And ultimately all will confess that I the Lord was just and fair in all my dealings [Isa. 45:23]. 12 With this in mind, let us all live conscious of the fact that one day each will have to give a personal account to God.
Living for One Another
13 Consequently, let us no longer keep judging one anothers performance, but rather let us make sure our own behavior in no way becomes a hindrance to another believers spiritual progress or, still worse, a means of causing the spiritual downfall of a fellow Christian. 14 I know and am convinced of Christ, that there is no merit in what we eat or drink, but to the one who is convicted that eating ccrtain foods brings dishonor to the Lord, let him abstain.
15 Further, if eating particular foods offends your fellow believer, out of true Christian love, do not indulge in that food, especially if it affects his faith. 16 In other words, do not let questionable foods become a means of contention in the church. 17 After all, Gods kingdom is not primarily concerned about foods but righteousness, peace, and rejoicing in the Holy Spirit. 18 Keep these objectives uppermost in your minds and you will be living truly Christian lives, not only pleasing to God but also to your fellow believers.
19 Let us, therefore, direct our lives in such a way that it will bring peace and harmony in the church and spiritual growth among the believers. 20 For issues on ritual foods are really a personal thing and must not affcct your relationship with one another or the cause of God. Therefore, let each Christian eat with a pure conscience before God. 21 What I am saying is, it is not good to eat meat or drink drinks that will cause, in any way, your fellow believer to either stumble in the Christian walk, be offended, or weaken in faith.
22 Do you claim to have genuine faith, which works by love? [Gal. 5:6] Then show it by your Christ-like behavior. For happy is the person that is living a life free of guilt. 23 For when a Christians conscience feels guilty before God in whatever is eaten or done, such a believer is obviously doing something inconsistent with the principle of faith, in which case it is right to feel guilty. For anything that is done out of harmony with faith is actually committing sin.