Romans 14:7-9. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
Wow it just got deep. I thought we were talking about eating and drinking and judging each other and Weak and Strong Christians (you know, easy stuff) and suddenly Paul’s talking about two of the biggest forces in the universe: life and death. Why does he bring in such cosmic concepts in the middle of this very earthy discussion?
Because love and liberty are a matter of life and death. They were secured by Christ’s life and death for us. Christ is our Lord in our living and in our dying – that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
These are the two greatest extremes. You’re either a living Christian or a dead Christian. But you’re still a Christian. Christ still has you, no matter what. Why? Because you are IN CHRIST. So if we live we live to the Lord, and if we die we die to the Lord, no matter what we do, we do it to the Lord. This is the great promise of our union with Christ. We cannot lose Jesus. Jesus cannot lose us.
Trust in Jesus means we are always safe, in life or death and everything in between.
Ok, so what does this have to do with our liberty, or any of the things that Paul’s been talking about?
He’s using an argument that goes from the greater to the lesser.
Greater: Christ is your Lord from life to death and everything in between. Everything you do from living to dying is done to the Lord.
Lesser: Therefore, whether you eat or not, drink or not, keep the Sabbath or not (these are “lesser” things than “living and dying”), it can all be done to the Lord.
1 Corinthians 10:31. So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
So you see our Christian liberty is deeply rooted in the gospel. Christ died and rose. As a result, he holds our dying and living in his hand. He is our Lord and Judge. If Christ holds all of our living and even our death in his hands, then he holds everything else that we do or don’t do in this life. When we trust this biggest of realities, we are living by faith. Which is why both the Weak and the Strong can be living in faith at the same time. There is freedom in Christ because there is security in Christ. We are free because at the end we will die to Christ, and in the meantime we live to Christ.
“To live is Christ” means we are his no matter what – living or dying – he is our Lord. And if that is really true (and it is) then we can love each other without trying to control each other’s freedom. We can let other Christians be free and be led by their Lord (and it’s not you). We can respect differing convictions because we know that ALL can be done to reflect the glory of the Lord. We can love within liberty because we know that we are all equally the Lord’s. Amen!