Last Sunday we talked about how the God divides our beliefs into essentials, doctrines, and convictions. What makes me saddest is how people blur the distinction between the three. We make doctrines essential and convictions doctrines. I start to wonder, what causes this? What drives us to play the modern Pharisee?
Regarding convictions, God has said in His word, “The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” (Romans 14:3-4) It seems clear that there are items in our walk with Christ that God reserves the right to lead on a personal basis rather than a revealed (in His Word) basis. From this passage, He says that He will lead personally what people eat. He even broadens it to how we celebrate special days (holidays and the sabbath). As I stated on Sunday, this creates three areas of God’s personal leadership that God reserves the right to correct: 1) Personal application of God’s commands, 2) Personal struggles that limit our liberty, and 3) Temporary practices that only have limited significance.
When we take these personal areas and make them laws that we apply to our brothers, we create walls between each other and create an us versus them perspective in our Christian life. My question: why? Are we really so uncomfortable with God being in charge that we have to create rules that we then apply to others? Is it so difficult for us to let go of our control and embrace God’s control? How weak we become when we try to take the place of God. The gospel loses its power, and our witness is lost. May we run from this tendency!