Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Quiet please

Quiet Please

Romans 14:22(NIV)
22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves.

In the letter to the Roman Christians, Apostle Paul addresses this attitude Christians had then and many have today about thinking they are "more Christian" than others or they have authority from God to condemn and look down on others who might have different convictions/beliefs about their faith than they have.  In the case of the Romans is was about certain foods being allowed to be eaten or certain days being more special than others  In our case it may be some other issue.

The problem was those who ate certain meats or didn't eat certain meats or those who thought one day was more special than the other judged, looked down upon, and criticized the other and Paul told them they both were wrong.  He told them to accept one another who's faith may be weaker, but also to stop passing judgment on disputable matters. 

He also cleared the air that weather you ate or didn't eat the meat or you thought one day was more special than the other it really didn't matter, because it wasn't wrong to eat me or abstain from it and one day wasn't more special than the other, but the problem was the individuals attitudes.  He warned them that the key was to not do anything to cause their brothers and sisters to stumble or not to be an obstacle to them.    All of this is great advice for us to practice our individual freedoms in Christ, but I like what he closed out the chapter with and that is the scripture at the beginning of this blog. 

"Whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God."  What is Paul telling the Roman Christians?  Be quiet!  There are disputable matters out there that you may have faith in your heart they are ok, while others may have faith in their heart they are wrong and both of you are right, it's your faith convictions that decides whether we approve or disapprove of something, but we cannot always bind or force our convictions on other people, yet so many times that is the problem with today's Christians and in many churches today. That is why Paul tells us we must be quiet in order not to pass judgment, but also not to condemn others or even ourselves.

I would encourage you to go read the entire chapter of Romans 14 to get a better picture, but what I really want us to understand today is there are times we must be silent and keep our opinions or convictions to ourselves because we do not have the place or authority to force them or push them on other people.  Our issues today may not be over certain types of meat or meat that was used in idol worship, but we certainly have convictions over things like tobacco use, alcohol consumption, playing lottery, etc...we also have certain convictions and issues in our churches like whether to use or not use instruments, what version of the bible to use, orderly worship, end of times, and other topics and issues and whether we like to admit it or want to admit it or not, some of these issues are not commands, or in black and white, but fall under the category of "disputable matters" and therefore we must keep them to ourselves, so we don't cause dissension, or act judgmental, or speak where God hasn't spoken.

Sometimes our Christian faith ends up being a bunch or do's and don'ts. If you do this your saved and if you don't do this your a sinner, etc...and we are acting like we are God and have the authority to say who is "better Christian" or what is "right church" or who is going to Heaven and who is going to Hell and only God has that authority to save/condemn, not us.  While I do believe there is a lot of black and white in the bible and commands for us to follow and sins that are mentioned we must avoid or not be tempted with, there are also things in the God's word that are personal and is for the individual to decide whether it causes them to sin or not in their heart.

I would encourage you if you have certain convictions in your faith to look at God's Word and seek His Holy Spirit to decide whether this is a command in God's Word for all the church and Christians or whether this is just an personal conviction for you and then if it is to practice keeping it to yourself and not cause others to stumble or be an obstacle to others.  Imagine all the people who have been run off or judged harshly or condemned by legalistic and fundamental Christians because they didn't agree with them.  It breaks my heart and I am sure it breaks the heart of the Father too.

Let's all do our best to grow in our faith, to grow in spirit and truth and seek wisdom and discernment from God so that we know when to be quiet about disputable matters or our personal convictions and when to speak out for God's truth and commands.


Charles Dalton said...

Very good Thanks Jason

Jason Thomas said...

thanks Reece