The Kingdom of God is not in meat and drink
For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17, KJV)
Paul addressed a problem the Roman believers were dealing with in their days. They had serious debates about what foods to eat, and even some holidays to keep. They were quarreling over food or special days. The Apostle Paul, with his usual divine wisdom, addressed this issue in the verse above and said “the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost”.
He pointedly distinguished the outward formalities of Christianity from its substance. Eating or not eating certain types of food, or keeping certain holidays does not make you more acceptable to God than the other who does not. God is looking for righteousness, peace, joy produced by His Spirit in our lives.
Food or special days might have been a big deal with the Roman Christians in their days and certainly do not have a similar degree of importance to most of us. However, it is not the food we should be concerned about here but the truth. God is teaching us that we should not focus on externals but on what matters to Him. I should emphasize here that this truth has been abused both ways. There are believers today, like the Romans, who are making a big deal out of things that have no eternal value with God. On the other side is a more dangerous group who say nothing matters, so anything is acceptable. Neither camp belongs to you.
This is the message: God is looking for righteous living, peace with one another, joy in your heart, love for Him and for the other person next to you, etc. This is what the kingdom of God is.
Does God care if you like eating meat or you would rather be a vegetarian? He certainly does not! However, does He care if you condemn those who eat meat or despise those who like to be vegetarians? Yes, He does! Does He care if your choice of food is affecting your health? Yes, He does! Can you see when it does not matter and when it matters?
APPLY THE WORD
Learn to focus on what matters to the Spirit of the Lord. Seek the Kingdom, not external religious rules. Choose to live in peace with your brother or sister. That is more important to God than for you to seek to prove to them that the way they do their church services is not Biblical!
Ask the Father to help you be a kingdom believer and not a religious Christian.
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–Did Paul disagree with Jesus?:
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:17-19 KJV
–Did the beloved disciple just not understand the “new covenant” like Paul did?:
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
1 John 5:2-3 KJV
…or maybe Paul has simply been terribly misunderstood (misrepresented)…just as he was even in his own time:
And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
2 Peter 3:15-17 KJV
Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
Romans 3:31 KJV
For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
Romans 7:22-23 KJV
… just something to consider. Blessings!
Anon, thanks for leaving those thoughtful comments!
The short answer to the question is: no, Paul did not disagree with Jesus!
I want to ensure I understand the context of your question correctly before proceeding….
What I get from your comment that Paul’s words used in this devotional that the kingdom of God is not in meat and drink appears to be in disagreement with what Jesus said that He did not come to destroy the Law but to fulfill it. Is this corrupt? I want to ensure I am responding appropriately to your comments. Please let me know if I have understood you correctly. Thank you.Blessings there too!