Discover how to handle some of the gray areas of faith

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

“One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks” (Romans 14:5-6).

IDEA: Whatever we hold about “gray” areas, we should hold out of personal conviction.

PURPOSE: Often what one Christian believes is “gray,” another Christian is sure must be “black and white.”

Many Christians have felt strongly about the day which Christians set aside for worship:

Seventh-Day Baptists and Seventh-Day Adventists actually have made the issue part of their name. They worship on Saturday. Other Christians worship on Sunday, but hold it should be treated like a “Sabbath.” Eric Liddell in Chariots of Fire refused to run in the 1924 Olympics because his event was scheduled for a Sunday.

Other Christians can hardly understand what the fuss is about in that movie. Sunday has lost its significance for them.

WHO IS RIGHT? The issue has divided Christians since the first century.

Paul writes about this in Romans 14:5-6 as a secondary issue. But that doesn’t mean it’s not important.

“One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.”

Paul wrote about this issue several times in his letters.

He wrote to the Galatians, “You observe days, and months, and seasons and years; I am afraid I have labored over you in vain”

He wrote to the Colossians, “Let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are only a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ” (Colossians 2:16-17).

In these cases Christians were tied to the Old Testament law as a means of gaining merit with God. They had ignored what Jesus Christ had done by His death on the cross.

It seems clear that living, not by law, but by grace, we no longer have to keep the Sabbath. Yet a Christian’s observance or non-observance of a day depends on that person’s relationship to the Lord.

We must be firmly convinced in our own minds, and that conviction must be based on Scripture.

We don’t base our convictions on convention. We shouldn’t pick up religious observances merely because other people do them, though we often do.

We don’t base our convictions on superstition. Taboos often smack of that.

Our convictions must be based on the belief that what we do pleases the Lord. That will differ from one Christian to another Christian as each sincerely tries to apply the implications of the teachings of the Bible to life.

It is our responsibility to bring our lives under subjection to the Lord. It is also our duty to allow other Christians to have their convictions without regarding them as non-Christians or as less devoted and obedient that we are ourselves.