The context of this chapter comes from vs.1″Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.”
This is telling the strong in faith to receive the weak in faith. An example given is of the strong in faith knowing he can eat all meats. He has studied and knows Jesus made all meats clean by his death on the cross, removing the idea of a man being clean or unclean as a result of what he eats.
1st Tim.4:4 “For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:”
But the weak brother , or newly born-again Christian, has not yet come to that knowledge. If he remains faithful and studies God’s word the Lord will reveal to him in the scriptures the truth on the matter and he will receive it, IF he has a love for the truth.
The disciples could not receive everything the Lord had to say at first.
Jn.16:12” I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.”
Notice the Lord said “now”. With time the Lord revealed all things to them.
Remember Peter’s vision in Acts 10.The Lord told Peter “Rise Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter refused at first to receive this. The Lord was revealing to Peter that he had cleansed unclean meats, and by implication the distinction is removed as between Jew and Gentile. Now they are to preach to Gentiles as well as Jews.
So when we come upon a weak brother that has not come to the knowledge of truth on meats for example, we are not to destroy him with our knowledge. We are to receive him as the Lord received us, with all longsuffering and doctrine, and later he will come to know the truth himself and act upon it accordingly.
1st. Cor. 8:9″But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.”
Vs.11-12 “ And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?
But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.”
Mt.18:5-6″And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”
The Lord is not talking literally about children. The child might be 43 years old, like I was when I became born-again.
Verse 3 explains who the Lord is talking about,”And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
A little child receives everything the parents tell him. And that is what the Lord expects from us. Never become to old in the Lord that you can not receive knowledge and correction from the Lord or of his servants.
Another example is in verses 5-6″One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.”
If a weak brother regards a day differently from us, weather it be the sabbath or some other day, we are not to destroy our brother with our knowledge, but exhort him with doctrine and in time he will come to know the truth. This does not do away with the Lord’s Sabbath. Paul is talking about a weak or young brother that has not come to that knowledge yet.
Because a weak brother does not eat meat, does that change anything in the scriptures? Neither does it change the commandment to remember the Lord’s Sabbath. When I became born-again ,it took a while to receive many things. The sabbath and graven images were two examples. As I grew in the Lord , the scriptures concerning the Lord’s Sabbath and graven images were overwhelming. Now I keep the Lord’s Sabbath as I also threw away my graven images. This did not come overnight. In the meantime my brothers in the Lord did not destroy me with their knowledge.
Vs.13″ Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.”
This is what this chapter is talking about. There are no laws changed in this chapter, as most preach. It is simply telling us not to destroy our weak brother with our knowledge.
I will conclude with the first verse in chapter 15 “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.”