on Romans 14 :14
I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus - After reasoning so long and so much with these contending parties on the subject of their mutual misunderstandings, without attempting to give any opinion, but merely to show them the folly and uncharitableness of their conduct, he now expresses himself fully, and tells them that nothing is unclean of itself, and that he has the inspiration and authority of Jesus Christ to say so; for to such an inspiration he must refer in such words as, I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus. And yet, after having given them this decisive judgment, through respect to the tender, mistaken conscience of weak believers, he immediately adds: But to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean; because if he act contrary to his conscience, he must necessarily contract guilt; for he who acts in opposition to his conscience in one case may do it in another, and thus even the plain declarations of the word of God may be set aside on things of the utmost importance, as well as the erroneous though well-intentioned dictates of his conscience, on matters which he makes of the last consequence; though others who are better taught know them to be indifferent.
It is dangerous to trifle with conscience, even when erroneous; it should be borne with and instructed; it must be won over, not taken by storm. Its feelings should be respected because they ever refer to God, and have their foundation in his fear. He who sins against his conscience in things which every one else knows to be indifferent, will soon do it in those things in which his salvation is most intimately concerned. It is a great blessing to have a well-informed conscience; it is a blessing to have a tender conscience; and even a sore conscience is infinitely better than none.
on Romans 14 :14
I know - This is an admission made to the "Gentile" convert, who believed that it was lawful to partake of food of every kind. This the apostle concedes; and says he is fully apprized of this. But though he knew this, yet he goes on to say Romans 14:15, that it would be well to regard the conscientious scruples of others on the subject. It may be remarked here that the apostle Paul had formerly quite as many scruples as any of his brethren had then. But his views had been changed.
And am persuaded - Am convinced.
By the Lord Jesus - This does not mean by any "personal" instruction received from the Lord Jesus, but by all the knowledge which he had received by inspiration of the nature of the Christian religion. The gospel of Jesus had taught him that the rites of the Mosaic economy had been abolished, and among those rites were the rules respecting clean and unclean beasts, etc.
There is nothing unclean - Greek "common." This word was used by the Jews to denote what was "unclean," because, in their apprehension, whatever was partaken by the multitude, or all people, must be impure. Hence, the words "common" and "impure" are often used as expressing the same thing. It denotes what was forbidden by the laws of Moses.
To him that esteemeth ... - He makes it a matter of conscience. He regards certain meats as forbidden by God; and while he so regards them, it would be wrong for him to partake of them. Man may be in error, but it would not be proper for him to act in violation of what he "supposes" God requires.
on Romans 14 :14
14:14 I am assured by the Lord Jesus - Perhaps by a particular revelation. That there is nothing - Neither flesh nor herbs. Unclean of itself - Unlawful under the gospel.