Following Jesus 119
Following Jesus: What kind of church are we?
As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. (Romans 14:1-12 ESV)
There are things in life in which God says no. They are evil, wrong or sinful. God commands the follower of Jesus, along with the rest of mankind, to abstain and to obey His commands.
Then there are things in life in which God says yes. These are the commands and encouragements which God directs His people to obey in order to receive blessings from Him. These then are things in life which are good, right and godly.
However, there are also those things in life which are morally neutral. They are neither good nor bad, neither right nor wrong.
One way the church has addressed these morally neutral issues of life is by legalism. Legalism is usually a negative term referring to an over-emphasis on discipline of conduct, or legal ideas, implying an allegation of emphasizing the letter of the law vs. the spirit of the law. It tends to stress outward conformity to man-made rulers and regulations within the church and in all of life. It usually involves a select few individuals enforcing such rules and regulations.
The other extreme is known as license or licentiousness. It means the absence of restraint. Synonyms include unbridled lust, excess, lasciviousness, wantonness, outrageousness, shamelessness, or insolence. It means doing whatever you want with no restraint or thought given to one’s choices and behavior.
What is the biblical perspective concerning those issues of life which are morally neutral? In a word, liberty.
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