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Romans 14:23: But Whoever Has Doubts Is Condemned If He Eats, Because The Eating Is Not From Faith.

Romans 14:23
[23] But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. (ESV)

This is a difficult verse to make sense of. What does it mean that our eating is not from faith? We have to remember the context of this verse. Paul is finishing a section of instruction dealing with those who had differing views on what a Christian was free to eat. Meat sold in the marketplace was first sacrificed to false idols. Should a Christian be permitted to eat such unholy food?

Paul made clear that all things are free for a believer in Jesus Christ to eat (Romans 14:14). Just because it we are free to eat something does not mean that we should. The believers whose conscience made them feel that they should not eat the meat offered to idols should not eat that meat. This is precisely what Paul is talking about in today's verse.

Whoever has doubts...speaks of the one whose conscience is telling them that eating a particular food is ungodly. Paul says here that the one whose conscience tells him that he should not eat a food, if he does eat that food, is violating his own conscience, and therefore is sinning. There is no need to force someone to change their viewpoint. If their conscience will not permit it, don't do it.

I think of various practices that believers have strong opinions on. Each one would appeal to their own conscience as to what is right. There is no need to have everybody agree about what practices should be done. We can agree to love one another. We do not need to make everyone agree with us. If your conscience tells you to leave something alone leave it alone.

Do you have a struggle understanding how some Christians can "get away" with doing things that you cannot? How can you spend more effort focusing on drawing closer to Christ?  


  1. I remember seeing a sign that said "LET YOUR CONSCIENCE BE YOUR GUIDE", but the word conscience was crossed through and the word BIBLE put in its place. The conscience isn't very dependable. The NT says a lot about the conscience. The conscience can be trained or conditioned. Those trained in legalism see sin where God doesn't. We need our conscience trained by the word of God. The conscience is like the computer, GARBAGE IN GARBAGE OUT. Acts 23:1 good conscience, Acts 24:16 conscience without offense, Romans 2:15 conscience also bearing witness
    Romans 9:1 conscience also bearing me, 1 Corinthians 8:12 weak conscience, 1 Corinthians 10:28 for conscience’ sake; 1 Timothy 1:19 good conscience 1 Timothy 3:9 pure conscience. 1 Timothy 4:2 conscience seared 2 Timothy 1:3 pure conscience Titus 1:15 conscience are defiled.
    Hebrews 9:14 cleanse your conscience.

  2. Yesterday's devotional on verse 23 dealt more specifically with the need to inform our conscience with the Word of God. This is something that happens with mature believers. The closer they grow with Christ, by reading his word, the more their conscience reflects that. Paul is dealing here also with the immature, young believer who is trying to reconcile how another believer seems to be exercising more freedom than they are yet comfortable with.


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