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Summary: It's not difficult at times living in a world of absolutes, that something is either right or wrong. The challenge comes in the so-called Gray areas, or the subjective areas of our faith. How do we decide what is right or wrong in these areas?

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THE GRAY AREAS OF FAITH

ROMANS 14:1 – 14:23

THE PASSAGE THAT WE ARE LOOKING AT TODAY, IS ONE THAT MANY PEOPLE FIND CONFUSING. IT’S EASY TO LIVE IN A WORLD OF ABSOLUTES, TO BE ABLE TO SAY THIE IS RIGHT AND THAT IS WRONG. WHY, BECAUSE THE BIBLE SAYS SO. BUT HERE PAUL MAKES US ASK THE QUESTION IS THIS WHAT THE BIBLE REALLY SAYS? ARE THERE THINGS THAT ARE SINFUL UNDER ONE CIRCUMSTANCE AND NOT SINFUL IN ANOTHER?

NOW LETS BE CLEAR RIGHT FROM THE START ON THIS. THERE ARE SOME ABSOLUTES IN THE BIBLE THAT CANNOT BE CHALLENGED. WE ARE ALL SINNERS AND WE ALL NEED A SAVIOR. THAT IS AN ABSOLUTE. JESUS PAID OUR SIN DEBT ON THE CROSS AND ONLY IF WE ACCEPT HIM AS LORD AND SAVIOR CAN WE EXPECT TO DWELL WITH HIM IN HEAVEN. THERE IS A HEAVEN AND THERE IS A HELL ON THIS THERE IS NO DOUBT.

THERE ARE SOME ASPECTS OF OUR DAILY LIVES THAT FALL INTO THIS CATEGORY. WE SHOULD PRACTICE THE TEN COMMANDMENTS AND THE GOLDEN RULES OF CHRIST WHICH ARE LOVE GOD AND LOVE OTHERS AS YOURSELF.

TO LIVE IN A WORLD OF BLACK AND WHITE MAY LOOK ENTICING, BUT IT IS IN FACT UNREALISTIC. THE LAND OF BLACK AND WHITE IS A LAND OF LEGALISM. ITS ATTITUDE IS THAT IF I DO CERTAIN THINGS AND OBEY THESE CERTAIN LAWS I’LL BE GUARANTEED OF GOING TO HEAVEN. IN SHORT IT BECOMES A SALVATION OF WORKS. CONSIDER THIS POEM ABOUT THE LAND OF BLACK AND WHITE.

IN A WORLD OF BLACK AND WHITE

OH TO LIVE IN A WORLD OF BLACK AND WHITE

NO HARD CHOICES NO OTHER COLORS IN SIGHT

NO QUESTION AT ALL OF WHAT’S WRONG OR RIGHT

IF ONLY WE LIVED IN THE LAND OF BLACK AND WHITE

IN THE LAND OF BLACK AND WHITE ALL OPINIONS WOULD FADE

NO FREEDOM OF WILL ALL DECISIONS ALREADY MADE

ONE WAY ONLY WILL BE SEEN AS RIGHT

IF WE LIVED IN A LAND OF BLACK AND WHITE

RIGHT IS RIGHT AND WRONG IS WRONG

EITHER TOE THE LINE OR YOU DON’T BELONG

IN THE LAND OF BLACK AND WHITE PHARISEES ABOUND

BUT THE LOVE OF CHRIST IS RARELY FOUND

OH FOR A LAND WITH DIFFERENT COLORS AND GRAY

HWERE HARD CHOICES ARE MADE AND PEOPLE KNOW TO PRAY

WHERE PEOPLE ARE LOVED AND THE TROUBLED FIND PEACE

IN THAT BEAUTIFUL LAND OF GRAY WHERE COMPSAAION DOESN’T CEASE.

IN THAT SPECIAL LAND OF GRAY CONTENTMENT I’LL SEE

AS I WALK IN HIS LIGHT AND GOD’S BLESSINGS I SEE

AND WITH GOD’S HELP I KNOW I’LL BE ALL RIGHT

IN THE BLESSED LAND OF GRAY, AND NOT BLACK AND WHITE.

PAUL IS VERY CLEAR HERE IN THAT HE IS SPEAKING ON DISPUTABLE MATTERS.

ROMANS 14:1: ACCEPT THE ONE WHOSE FAITH IS WEAK, WITHOUT QUARRELING OVER DISPUTABLE MATTERS.

WE NEED TO RECOGNIZE THAT PEOPLE ARE AT DIFFERENT STAGES IN THEIR SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT. FOR THE MOST PART ON ESSENTIAL ISSUES THERE IS AGREEMENT. IT IS IN THESE DISPUTABLE MATTERS THAT WE FIND THE TEMPEST IN THE TEAPOT.

PAUL USES TWO ILLUSTRATIONS IN THIS PASSAGE TO PROVE HIS POINT. THE FIRST IS ON FOOD ISSUES, PARTICULARLY THE EATING OF CLEAN AND UNCLEAN MEAT. THE SECOND IS ON KEEPING ONE DAY MORE SACRED THAN THE OTHER. THE DANGER, AS PAUL SHOWS US IS THAT WE BECOME SO ENTRALLED WITH THE LETTER OF THE LAW, THE FORM AND FORMAT OF IT, THAT WE FORGET THE MOTIVATION BEHIND IT. THIS CHAPTER BRINGS US FACE TO FACE WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT DISPUTABLE MATTERS MAY BE SINFUL OR THEY MAY NOT BE DEPENDING ON THE CIRCUMSTANCES. CONSIDER THE FIRST ILLUSTRATION IN VERSES 2-5.


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