Disputable Matters

By admin  //  Devotionals  //  1 Comment

“Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters” Romans 14:1

It takes spiritual maturity to differentiate between the essentials and the non-essentials of our faith. Often we allow the non-essentials of our faith to cause us to  break fellowship with our brothers and sisters who go about things differently from us. We are put off by how they worship, what they wear and their hair-do’s, their approach to church government and their conviction about eschatology. Look around and you will see that many denominational differences are based on the non-essentials of our faith that happen to be the personal preferences of, or God’s directive, for a particular person or group. But these are often made the platform for, or the dividing wall of, fellowship.

In Romans 14 we are called on to be careful not to allow ‘disputable matters’ to make us break off fellowship with our brothers and sisters. Disputable matters are those issues on which we can agree to disagree without it affecting the foundation of the Gospel. Disputable matters are things that are not in themselves sin. For example, we know that lusting or lying is a sin no matter the motive behind it. But there are many other things that are not sin in themselves but can either be right or wrong before God, simply because of the motives behind them and what the Spirit is saying to the individuals concerned.

That is why the Apostle says: ‘Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind’ Romans 14: 5b NIV. For example, my wife is convinced God doesn’t wants her to use ear-rings, but she would be the first to tell you that it doesn’t mean that all those who use them are sinning. It takes spiritual maturity to embrace the restraints of God upon my own life, or the life of my group, in the area of disputable matters, without insisting that everyone else must do the same. It also requires moral courage to continue in the things we are ‘fully persuaded’ about (as the KJV renders Rom.14:5) even when it seems that God is not asking that of everyone else.

We need to see the importance of accepting others who may be persuaded differently from us on disputable matters. What we must be careful about is to judge our own self so as to be fully convinced that all we are doing, or not doing, is pleasing to God whether it may be in small issues or big matters.

Here are 5 points we can use to judge ourselves on all disputable matters:

1) Am I fully convinced that what I am doing, or not doing, is God’s will for me as an individual as far as I know his mind? I must not follow the crowd.

2) Is this bringing glory and praise to Christ? 1 Corinth 10:31

3) Can I honestly give thanks to God for what I am doing, or not doing?

4) Is what I am doing, or not doing, helpful or harmful to those around me? Might it cause someone to stumble?

5) Do I have any doubts? Remember, if in doubt don’t! Romans 14:23

The Bible gives us a simple rule to measure all we do;

‘So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God’ (1 Corinth 10:31 NIV)

That, I believe summarizes everything.

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