As believers, sometimes we can be judgmental and critical, thinking that we are more spiritual than others. We might demean other people in order to support our own internal sense of righteousness.
Parts of Scripture are “grey areas”: they give one the liberty to choose. Typically, those who take more restrictive positions think of themselves as more spiritual, seeing those with more liberal views as carnal or disobedient. Paul wrote Romans 14:1–-15:13 to diffuse these divisive and destructive legalistic attitudes.
The first issue in the debate Paul was addressing was which day of the week should be given special significance: “One person regards one day holier than other days, and another regards them all alike.” Believers with many scruples and convictions wanted a special day (i.e., Sabbath)dedicated to rest, family, and worship. They also wanted to be separated from pagan festivals and to eat only certain foods.
Paul warned the Colossians, “Let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day” (Col 2:16). Paul did not prohibit such practices, but he also insisted that they had no spiritual benefit.
The command that “each must be fully convinced in his own mind” means we should “be completely certain of the truth.” This is a settled conviction that a pattern of conduct is the will of God (Rom 12:2).
Paul asked the Romans, “Why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God” (Rom 14:10). We are to be “like–minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind” (Phil 2:2), but this doesn’t mean we must agree on minutia.
Absolute conformity of opinion in areas of liberty is never demanded. We must humbly make a commitment to honor and serve one another (2:3–-4). Do you “agree to disagree” while still loving others as your family?
“Dear Lord, the Bible is our guide to knowing You and having ‘the mind of Christ’ as we learn how to govern our daily lives. Give me the wisdom to stand firm on what You have made clear and to show love and tolerance to others in areas where Your word is not so clear.”
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