Summary: Don’t be caught up in finger pointing at a Brother in Christ just because he is different. Remember, God looks upon the heart!
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Pastor James May
Romans 14:1-5, "Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind."
Doubtful Disputations! Now that describes the disputes and discussions of nearly every conversation in the world of Christianity. Everywhere I go, pious, self-righteous and religious people are having heated discussions over little nit-picking details of living a sanctified life. The problem is that, by the time each side presents its arguments and attempts to “convert” the other from the “error of his ways”, they are both acting as though they don’t even know what sanctification means. There are very little Christ-like attitudes showing now.
These same types of attitudes were becoming prevalent among the Christians of the church in Rome. Some, who were converted from Judaism to Christianity, and others who were converted from the idolatrous worship of Roman and other idols of gentile worship, were arguing and discussing just what constituted a sanctified life.
The argument in the Roman church was concerning the eating of meats and the observance of certain feast days and rituals. Without going into detail on the specific arguments of each side, let me say that the real problem was not in what foods were or were not being eaten. The real problem was not in whether the gentiles would observe the Jewish feast days. The real problem was a spiritual problem.
The Christians in the Roman church had begun to cause great divisions among themselves and placing condemnation upon one another. This would grieve the Holy Spirit and could eventually destroy the church at Rome.
The Bible still says in Luke 11:17, "But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth."
The Christians at Rome were bigoted and prejudiced against one another. There was no unity of Spirit. There was no tolerance for one another. Each side was convinced that it was right and there could be no compromise.
Now I don’t believe in compromising the message of the Gospel. I don’t believe in compromising the requirement of living a sanctified life that is dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ. I refuse to compromise the truth of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus and I refuse to compromise in the fact that Jesus is the only way to eternal life.
But sometimes we must learn to tolerate or to compromise in order to maintain peace and unity within the Body of Christ, the Church. If everyone had to live according my personal standards there would be many who would think that my standards of “holiness” are far to strict and just as many who would believe that I would be far too lenient.
You see, the problem that all us have is that each of us has his/her own standard of righteousness! The Bible is not very specific in laying out a step-by-step path to the sanctified life. God, in His wisdom, has given allowance for each of us to “Work out our own salvation with fear and trembling”, according to Philippians 2:2.
Who among us is so righteous, so holy, so good, and so perfect in the sight of God that we have been given the right to establish the bounds of what is sanctified and what is not? Who among us can be the first one to cast a stone at someone else for what we perceive as sin his or her lives?