16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of:
17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
By: Niezel Carganilla-Gaoaen
Romans 14:16-18 (NIV)
16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil.
17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness,
peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,
18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.
In Romans 14, Paul shares the gospel of grace where he outlines the importance of not judging the behavior of our Christian brethren. Paul specifically mentions food and holy days, two of the judging yardsticks of his time. In this modern world that we live in, it is also easy to judge each other by other yardsticks. Many measures we focus on may be petty and only external appearances, or appearances that matter very little to our Savior, if any. Paul is reminding us to make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification (Romans 14:19) and to live in such a way that we will not cause another believer to stumble and fall. I want my focus to be on God’s Kingdom in my relationship to God and with others. May that relationship be of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit in verse 17 labels these three attributes as righteousness, peace, and joy. In an earlier chapter [Romans 4], faith justifies us before Him, for faith becomes righteousness. Paul mentions the gospel is all about righteousness of God being given to those who believe in Jesus as the sacrifice for their sin. Romans 5 talks of us having peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, leading us to joy in the hope of the glory of God.
Our relationship with God affects our relationship with others in His kingdom. Our right standing before God (righteousness) is through faith in Christ. The peace that we enjoy with God is because of being reconciled with Him. The joy of our salvation is the basis for our righteous deeds, peace with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and our shared joy in the Lord.
How do we evaluate our relationships with others in God’s kingdom? Meditate on what is pleasing to God in verse 17: righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. We can also grow and walk in the fruit of the Spirit as talked about in Galatians 5:22-23. This will cause us to build up and receive one another with understanding but without condemnation.