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MAKING DECISIONS IN THE GRAY AREAS

Legalist (decides for you what is sinful)           License (sin all you want)

Diagram 1

GRAY?
(Disputable matters, doubtful things)
(Romans 14:1)

Strong (think what is
okay, is okay)

Weak (think that what is
okay, is sinful)

 

PRINCIPLES FOR MAKING DECISIONS
IN THE GRAY AREAS

PRINCIPLES FOR MAKING PERSONAL DECISIONS IN THE GRAY AREAS:
1. God wants us to enjoy what He created (I Tim 4:1-5).

2. God's creation is not morally bad (I Cor 8:8)
3. We should seek to occupy ourselves doing that which is beneficial (I Cor     10:23).
4. We should not let anything control us (I Cor. 6:12, 9:24-27)
5. We are to make up our own minds whether or not something is right or     wrong for us to do (Rom 14:5-10) (Is it sinful or not sinful, beneficial or not     beneficial, control us or does not control us, thank God for it or not thank God     for it?)
6. If we believe something is sinful, it is sinful for us (Rom 14:22,23, 14:14)
7. We are to seek to do that which glorifies God (I Cor 6:19,20)
8. Be careful to not go from liberty to license (I Cor 10:14-22)

PRINCIPLES FOR MAKING DECISIONS TOWARD OTHERS WITH REGARD TO THE GRAY AREAS (These principles will help us to live in unity with those who disagree with us about decisions in the gray areas):
1. Those who know that they are free to do something (the strong in faith)      should not despise those who believe that they cannot do it without
     sinning (the weak in
faith) (Rom 14:1-4).  We are to fully accept those          whom we do not agree with in these gray areas: (1) the weak in faith (Rom     14:23); (2) the weak in knowledge (I Cor 8:7,10); and (3) the weak in     conscience (I Cor 8:7,10,12).  In I Timothy 4:4, Paul says, "everything God     created is good and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with     thanksgiving."  Not everyone's faith is strong enough to believe that this is     true. As a result, there are those within the true Church who sincerely believe     that God requires that they must deprive themselves of that which, in     actuality, God created for us to enjoy.
2. Those who believe that something is wrong, where the Bible does not           clearly say that it is wrong, should not despise those who think it is not           wrong (Rom 14:3b).  God is their judge, not us (Lk 18:9-12)
3. The strong in faith should not do anything that will encourage a brother      who is weak in faith to stumble (Rom 14:13-21; I Cor 8:9-12).  Jesus did     not die for us so we would eat or not eat a certain type of food.  He died for     us so that we would experience "righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy     Spirit." (Rom 14:17)
4. Do not let what is good become bad by making it an ugly issue between           other Christians and you (Rom 14:16).
5. We are to bear with each other in the controversial areas (Rom 15:1-3,      14:19).
6. We are to be willing to give up our rights for the spiritual benefit of others
     (I Cor 9:19-22)
7. We are not to seek only our good, but we are to seek after the good of           others (I Cor 10:32).
8. We are not required to submit to the legalist's law for our lives (Mk
     2:16-28; Matt
15:1-3,12-14)

THE PRINCIPLES SUMMARIZED

1. Can I thank God for it (I Tim 4:1-5)?
2. Is it beneficial (I Cor 10:23)?
3. Does it control me (I Cor 6:12, 9:24-27)?
4. Am I fully convinced it is okay for me to do (Rom 14:5-12)?
5. Do I believe it is sinful for me to do (Rom 14:22,23)?
6. Will it cause a weaker brother to stumble (Rom 14:13-21; I Cor 8:9-12)?
7. Do I seek only my good and not the good of others (I Cor 10:32,33)?
8. Will what I do become bad by what I do (Rom 14:16)?

RESOURCES: DECISION MAKING & THE WILL OF GOD by Friesen (Chapters 23 & 24); FREE TO DISAGREE by John Wecks

ASSIGNMENT:
1. What are some areas that fit in the gray area?
2. Pick one area and apply the principles to that area.