on Romans 14 :15
If thy brother be grieved - If he think that thou doest wrong, and he is in consequence stumbled at thy conduct.
Now walkest thou not charitably - Κατα αγαπην, According to love; for love worketh no ill to its neighbor; but by thy eating some particular kind of meat, on which neither thy life nor well-being depends, thou workest ill to him by grieving and distressing his mind; and therefore thou breakest the law of God in reference to him, while pretending that thy Christian liberty raises thee above his scruples.
Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died - This puts the uncharitable conduct of the person in question in the strongest light, because it supposes that the weak brother may be so stumbled as to fall and perish finally; even the man for whom Christ died. To injure a man in his circumstances is bad; to injure him in his person is worse; to injure him in his reputation is still worse; and to injure his soul is worst of all. No wickedness, no malice, can go farther than to injure and destroy the soul: thy uncharitable conduct may proceed thus far; therefore thou art highly criminal before God.
From this verse we learn that a man for whom Christ died may perish, or have his soul destroyed; and destroyed with such a destruction as implies perdition; the original is very emphatic, μη - εκεινον απολλυε, ὑπερ οὑ Χριστος απεθανε. Christ died in his stead; do not destroy his soul. The sacrificial death is as strongly expressed as it can be, and there is no word in the New Testament that more forcibly implies eternal ruin than the verb απολλυω, from which is derived that most significant name of the Devil, ὁ Απολλυων, the Destroyer, the great universal murderer of souls.
on Romans 14 :15
But if thy brother ... - This address is to the "Gentile" convert. In the previous verse, Paul admitted. that the prejudice of the Jew was not well-founded. But admitting that still the question was, "how" he should be treated while he had that prejudice. The apostle here shows the Gentile that "he" ought not so to act as unnecessarily to wound his feelings, or to grieve him.
Be grieved - Be pained; as a conscientious man always is, when he sees another, and especially a Christian brother, do anything which "he" esteems to be wrong. The "pain" would be real, though the "opinion" from which it arose might not be well founded.
With thy meat - Greek, On account of meat, or food; that is, because "you" eat what he regards as unclean.
Now walkest - To "walk," in the Sacred Scriptures, often denotes to act, or to do a thing; Mark 7:5; Acts 21:21; Romans 6:4; Romans 8:1, Romans 8:4. Here it means that if the Gentile convert persevered in the use of such food, notwithstanding the conscientious scruples of the Jew, he violated the law of love.
Charitably - Greek, According to charity, or love; that is, he would violate that law which required him to sacrifice his own comfort to promote the happiness of his brother; 1 Corinthians 13:5; 1 Corinthians 10:24, 1 Corinthians 10:28-29; Philippians 2:4, Philippians 2:21.
Destroy not him - The word "destroy" here refers, doubtless, to the ruin of the soul in hell. It properly denotes ruin or destruction, and is applied to the ruin or "corruption" of various things, in the New Testament. To life Matthew 10:39; to a reward, in the sense of "losing" it Mark 10:41; Luke 15:4; to food John 6:27; to the Israelites represented as lost or wandering Matthew 10:6; to "wisdom" that is rendered "vain" 1 Corinthians 1:9; to "bottles," rendered "useless" Matthew 9:17, etc. But it is also frequently applied to destruction in hell, to the everlasting ruin of the soul; Matthew 10:28, "Who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell;" Matthew 18:14; John 3:15; Romans 2:12. That "this" is its meaning here is apparent from the parallel place in 1 Corinthians 8:11, "And through thy knowledge shall thy weak brother perish." If it be asked how the eating of meat by the Gentile convert could be connected with the perdition of the Jew, I reply, that the apostle supposes that in this way an occasion of stumbling would be afforded to him, and he would come into condemnation. He might be led by example to partake against his own conscience, or he might be excited to anger, disgust, and apostasy from the Christian faith. Though the apostle believed that all who were true Christians would be saved, Romans 8:30-39, yet he believed that it would be brought about by the use of means, and that nothing should be done that would tend to hinder or endanger their salvation; Hebrews 6:4-9; Hebrews 2:1. God does not bring his people to heaven without the use of "means adapted to the end," and one of those means is that employed here to warn professing Christians against such conduct as might jeopard the salvation of their brethren.
For whom Christ died - The apostle speaks here of the possibility of endangering the salvation of those for whom Christ died, just as he does respecting the salvation of those who are in fact Christians. By those for whom Christ died, he undoubtedly refers here to "true Christians," for the whole discussion relates to them, and them only; compare Romans 14:3-4, Romans 14:7-8. This passage should not be brought, therefore, to prove that Christ died for all people, or for any who shall finally perish. Such a doctrine is undoubtedly true (in this sense; that there is in the death of Christ a "sufficiency for all," and that the "offer" is to all.) (compare 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; 1 John 2:2; 2 Peter 2:1), but it is not the truth which is taught here. The design is to show the criminality of a course that would tend to the ruin of a brother. For these weak brethren, Christ laid down his precious life. He loved them; and shall we, to gratify our appetites, pursue a course which will tend to defeat the work of Christ, and ruin the souls redeemed by his blood?
on Romans 14 :15
14:15 If thy brother is grieved - That is, wounded, led into sin. Destroy not him for whom Christ died - So we see, he for whom Christ died may be destroyed. With thy meat - Do not value thy meat more than Christ valued his life.