on Romans 14 :5
One man esteemeth one day above another - Perhaps the word ἡμεραν, day, is here taken for time, festival, and such like, in which sense it is frequently used. Reference is made here to the Jewish institutions, and especially their festivals; such as the passover, pentecost, feast of tabernacles, new moons, jubilee, etc. The converted Jew still thought these of moral obligation; the Gentile Christian not having been bred up in this way had no such prejudices. And as those who were the instruments of bringing him to the knowledge of God gave him no such injunctions, consequently he paid to these no religious regard.
Another - The converted Gentile esteemeth every day - considers that all time is the Lord's, and that each day should be devoted to the glory of God; and that those festivals are not binding on him.
We add here alike, and make the text say what I am sure was never intended, viz. that there is no distinction of days, not even of the Sabbath: and that every Christian is at liberty to consider even this day to be holy or not holy, as he happens to be persuaded in his own mind.
That the Sabbath is of lasting obligation may be reasonably concluded from its institution (see the note on Genesis 2:3) and from its typical reference. All allow that the Sabbath is a type of that rest in glory which remains for the people of God. Now, all types are intended to continue in full force till the antitype, or thing signified, take place; consequently, the Sabbath will continue in force till the consummation of all things. The word alike should not be added; nor is it acknowledged by any MS. or ancient version.
Let every man be fully persuaded - With respect to the propriety or non-propriety of keeping the above festivals, let every man act from the plenary conviction of his own mind; there is a sufficient latitude allowed: all may be fully satisfied.
on Romans 14 :5
One man esteemeth - Greek "judgeth" κρίνει krinei. The word is here properly translated "esteemeth;" compare Acts 13:46; Acts 16:15. The word originally has the idea of "separating," and then "discerning," in the act of judging. The expression means that one would set a higher value on one day than on another, or would regard it as more sacred than others. This was the case with the "Jews" uniformly, who regarded the days of their festivals, and fasts, and Sabbaths as especially sacred, and who would retain, to no inconsiderable degree, their former views, even after they became converted to Christianity.
Another "esteemeth - That is, the "Gentile" Christian. Not having been brought up amidst the Jewish customs, and not having imbibed their opinions and prejudices, they would not regard these days as having any special sacredness. The appointment of those days had a special reference "to the Jews." They were designed to keep them as a separate people, and to prepare the nation for the "reality," of which their rites were but the shadow. When the Messiah came, the passover, the feast of tabernacles, and the other special festivals of the Jews, of course vanished, and it is perfectly clear that the apostles never intended to inculcate their observance on the Gentile converts. See this subject discussed in the second chapter of the Epistle to the Galatians.
Every day alike - The word "alike" is not in the original, and it may convey an idea which the apostle did not design. The passage means that he regards "every day" as consecrated to the Lord; Romans 14:6. The question has been agitated whether the apostle intends in this to include the Christian Sabbath. Does he mean to say that it is a matter of "indifference" whether this day be observed, or whether it be devoted to ordinary business or amusements? This is a very important question in regard to the Lord's day. That the apostle did not mean to say that it was a matter of indifference whether it should be kept as holy, or devoted to business or amusement, is plain from the following considerations.
(1) the discussion had reference only to the special customs of the "Jews," to the rites and practices which "they" would attempt to impose on the Gentiles, and not to any questions which might arise among Christians as "Christians." The inquiry pertained to "meats," and festival observances among the Jews, and to their scruples about partaking of the food offered to idols, etc.; and there is no more propriety in supposing that the subject of the Lord's day is introduced here than that he advances principles respecting "baptism" and "the Lord's supper."
(2) the "Lord's day" was doubtless observed by "all" Christians, whether converted from Jews or Gentiles; see 1 Corinthians 16:2; Acts 20:7; Revelation 1:10; compare the notes at John 20:26. The propriety of observing "that day" does not appear to have been a matter of controversy. The only inquiry was, whether it was proper to add to that the observance of the Jewish Sabbaths, and days of festivals and fasts.
(3) it is expressly said that those who did not regard the day regarded it as not to God, or to honor God; Romans 14:6. They did it as a matter of respect to him and his institutions, to promote his glory, and to advance his kingdom. Was this ever done by those who disregard the Christian Sabbath? Is their design ever to promote his honor, and to advance in the knowledge of him, by "neglecting" his holy day? Who knows not that the Christian Sabbath has never been neglected or profaned by any design to glorify the Lord Jesus, or to promote his kingdom? It is for purposes of business, gain, war, amusement, dissipation, visiting, crime. Let the heart be filled with a sincere desire to "honor the Lord Jesus," and the Christian Sabbath will be reverenced, and devoted to the purposes of piety. And if any man is disposed to plead "this passage" as an excuse for violating the Sabbath, and devoting it to pleasure or gain, let him quote it "just as it is," that is, let "him neglect the Sabbath from a conscientious desire to honor Jesus Christ." Unless this is his motive, the passage cannot avail him. But this motive never yet influenced a Sabbath-breaker.
Let every man ... - That is, subjects of this kind are not to be pressed as matters of conscience. Every man is to examine them for himself, and act accordingly. This direction pertains to the subject under discussion, and not to any other. It does not refer to subjects that were "morally" wrong, but to ceremonial observances. If the "Jew" esteemed it wrong to eat meat, he was to abstain from it; if the Gentile esteemed it right, he was to act accordingly. The word "be fully persuaded" denotes the highest conviction, not a matter of opinion or prejudice, but a matter on which the mind is made up by examination; see Romans 4:21; 2 Timothy 4:5. This is the general principle on which Christians are called to act in relation to festival days and fasts in the church. If some Christians deem them to be for edification, and suppose that their piety will be promoted by observing the days which commemorate the birth, and death, and temptations of the Lord Jesus, they are not to be reproached or opposed in their celebration. Nor are they to attempt to impose them on others as a matter of conscience, or to reproach others because they do not observe them.
on Romans 14 :5
14:5 One day above another - As new moons, and other Jewish festivals. Let every man be fully persuaded - That a thing is lawful, before he does it.