Summary: We must not judge a weaker brother on "gray areas". We need to distinguish between convictions and conveniences (preferences).
There are some things that we must take a stand on. These are our convictions. Things that we would be willing to die for (Salvation is by grace alone through faith; the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God, Jesus Christ was born of a Virgin, those who reject Christ as Saviour will spend eternity in hell, etc.) These are things that are specifically addressed in Scripture. There are, however, some areas that the Scriptures do not specifically deal with. These are commonly called “gray areas”. What we believe about these things are not (or ought not to be) convictions, but rather preferences or conveniences. We must be careful to separate our convictions from our conveniences. In the text Paul discusses the proper attitude Christians should have toward each other in debatable areas of conduct (things that are not clearly stated to be wrong). He says that we are not to judge one another on such matters because:
1. GOD HAS RECEIVED BOTH THE WEAKER AND STRONGER BELIEVER (1-3)
A. “Weak in the faith” = A “baby Christian”.
B. “Doubtful disputations” = Don’t try to confuse him
C. “Herbs” = Vegetables
D. It is just as wrong to judge somebody for their “convictions” as it is to judge somebody for their “lack of convictions”.
E. “God is no respecter of persons.” Acts 10:34
2. WE CAN DIFFER IN GOOD CONSCIENCE (4-6)
A. Time is too short to “major on the minors”
B. As long as it doesn’t violate Scripture we can agree to disagree
C. We must allow for different tastes, cultures, backgrounds, etc.
D. “The main thin is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
3. WE’LL ALL BE JUDGED BY GOD (7-12)
A. I won’t answer to God for anyone else; nor they for me.
B. I’m busy enough trying to take care of myself!
C. We belong to God. Our bodies are His temple--1 Cor. 6:19,20
D. All, whether weaker or stronger, will be judged by God
Not everyone has attained the level of spirituality that you have. You wouldn’t expect a baby to come out of the womb with a PhD. As we grow in the Lord and mature in our faith we develop a system of beliefs and practices. These will continue to be refined and changed as we learn more about the things of God. The fact of the matter is if I examine myself I will find that I have a lot to work on before I can even begin to concern myself with somebody else. Jesus told the Pharisees to look at the log in their own eye before they talk about the toothpick in another person’s. The question is: Am I as right with God as I need to be? If I have been closer to God than I am right now I am backslidden. And must judge myself.