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MAKING DECISIONS IN THE GRAY AREAS VERSES

PRINCIPLES FOR MAKING DECISIONS IN THE GRAY AREAS:
1. God wants us to enjoy what He created.
I Timothy 4:1-5 - "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.  Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.  They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.  For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer."

2. God's creation is not bad.
I Corinthians 8:8 - "But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not, and no better if we do."

3. We should seek to occupy ourselves doing that which is beneficial.
I Corinthians 10:23 - "'Everything is permissible'---but not everything is beneficial.  'Everything is permissible'---but not everything is constructive."

4. We should not let anything control us.
I Corinthians 6:12, 9:24-27 - "'Everything is permissible for me'---but not everything is beneficial.  'Everything is permissible'---but I will not be mastered by anything."  "Do you not know that in a race all runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.  They do it to get a crown that will last forever.  Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.  No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."

5. We are to make up our own minds whether or not something is right or
    wrong.
Romans 14:5-10 - "One mans considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike.  Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.  He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord.  He who eats
meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.  For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone.  If we live, we live to the Lord and if we die, we die to the Lord.  You, then, why do you judge your brother?  Or why do you look down on your brother?  For we will all stand before the judgment seat."

6. If we believe something is sinful, it is sinful for us.
Romans 14:22,23, 14:14 - "So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.  Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves.  But the man who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin."  "as one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself.  But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean."

7. We are to seek to do that which glorifies God.
I Corinthians 6:19,20 - "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; your were bought with a price.  Therefore honor God with your body."

8. Be careful to not go from liberty to license.
I Corinthians 10:14-22 - "Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.  I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say.  Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ?  And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?  Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.  Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar?  Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything?  No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons.  You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons.  Are we trying to arouse the Lord's jealousy?  Are we stronger than he?"

 

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).

Romans 14:1-4 - "Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.  One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.  The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.  Who are you to judge someone else's servant?  To his own master he stands or falls.  And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand."

(1) the weak in faith
Romans 14:23 - "But the man who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin."

(2) the weak in knowledge and (3) the weak in conscience
I Corinthians 8:7,10,12 - "But not everyone knows this.  Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having been sacrificed to an idol, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled…..For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol's temple, won't he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols?….When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ."

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
I Corinthians 14:3b - "and the man who does eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.

Luke 18:9-12 - "To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable:  'Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men---robbers, evildoers, adulterers---or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get."

3. The strong in faith should not do anything that will encourage a brother
    who is weak in faith to stumble.
Romans 14:13-21 - "Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another.  Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.  As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself.  But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean.  If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love.  Do not by you4 eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died.  Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil.  For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.  Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.  Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food.  All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.  It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall."

I Corinthians 8:9-12 - "Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.  For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol's temple, won't he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols?  So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge.  When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ."

4. Do not let what is good become bad by making it an ugly issue between
    other Christians and you.
Romans 14:16 - "Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil."

5. We are to bear with each other in the controversial areas.
Romans 15:1-3, 14:19  - "We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.  Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.  For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written; 'The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.'"  "Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification."

6. We are to be willing to give up our rights for the spiritual benefit of
    others.
I Corinthians 9:19-22 - "Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.  To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews.  To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.  To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law.  To the weak I became weak, to win the weak.  I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some."

7. We are not seek only our good, but we are to seek after the good of
    others.
I Corinthians 10:32 - "Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God---even as I try to please everybody in every way.  For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved." 

8. We are not required to submit to the legalist's law for our lives.
Mark 2:16-20  - "When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the 'sinners' and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: 'Why does he eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?  On hearing this, Jesus said to them, 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.'  Now John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting.  Some people came and asked Jesus, 'How is it that John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?'  Jesus answered, 'How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them?  They cannot, so long as they have him with them.  But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast."

Matthew 15:1-3, 12-14 - "Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 'Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders?  They don't wash their hands before they eat!'  Jesus replied, 'And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?' "  "Then the disciples came to him and asked, 'Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?'  He replied, 'Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots.  Leave them; they are blind guides.  If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit."