Paul taught the Romans to deal with matters of liberty concerning
the eating of meat upon this principle: "But he who doubts is condemned
if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is
not from faith is sin" (Rom. 14:23).
All Christians must live by this principle: Whatever is not of
faith is sin. Does this mean that we can just conjure up what is
right and wrong in our own minds based upon personal opinions? Does
this mean that there is no divine standard of right and wrong? Certainly
Romans could be called the epistle of faith. Paul begins and ends
the epistle stating that we must be obedient to the faith (Rom.
1:16; 16:26). And throughout the epistle, Paul teaches us that we
must walk by faith (Rom. 1:17) and that faith comes by hearing God's
word (Rom. 10:17).
Therefore we quickly learn that faith is not based upon mere human
wisdom but upon God's word. Peter said: "If anyone speaks, let him
speak as the oracles of God" (1 Pet. 4:11). And later he said: "Grace
and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus
Christ our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things
that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him
who called us by glory and virtue" (2 Pet. 1:2-3).
Faith comes from hearing God's word in which is revealed everything
we need to know about life and godliness. Therefore, Paul said:
"But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel
to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed" (Gal.
1:8). And the apostle said: "All Scripture is given by inspiration
of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction,
for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be thoroughly
equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
Now, what does Paul mean by saying, "whatever is not from faith
is sin?" The apostle means that we must go to God's word, learn
His will, and live according to His will. Thus, we live by faith.
And we must be confident that everything we do is according to God's
will because he said: "he who doubts is condemned" (Rom. 14:23).
Paul sums up this matter saying: "And whatever you do in word or
deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God
the Father through Him" (Col. 3:17). And he said: "Test all things;
hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil" (1 Th.
Now think about yourself. Have you gone to God's word to test the
things that you are doing? Are you fully convinced that you are
living according to God's will? Are you doing things that might
Remember, he who doubts is condemned because whatever is not from
faith is sin.