Scripture: Romans 14:
22So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.
Observation: Something that is a sin to one person, may not be a sin to another.
Application: Some sins are relative to the person in question. This was especially evident in the area where the Roman Christians were concerned. There were Jews and Gentiles both coming to faith in Christ Jesus. The Jews brought with them many customs and laws that the Gentiles didn’t. The easiest one for me to point out is the food laws. The Jews had many things that according to their custom and laws were forbidden in their diets, while the Gentiles felt free to eat almost anything they wanted. Paul is teaching here that this (along with other things of similar nature) are sins only if your faith makes them so.
Of course there are some sins that are sins no matter who you are. A good example of some of these are found in the Ten Commandments. I think as Christians we should support the Ten Commandments, we should know them, and understand them and do our best to live up to them. You don’t have to put them on a sign in your yard, or on your desk, but rather it’s more important to write them on your heart.
1. There is Only ONE God!
2. Don’t worship anything but God – Don’t let anything be a false idol for you. (cars, homes, jobs, sports, hobbies)
3. Don’t take the Lord’s name in vane. (Not just Cursing, but calling yourself a Christian and living like the devil is also taking His name in vane.)
4. Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy. (Take one day out of seven and put other things aside so that you can spend time in worship)
5. Honor your father and mother.
6. Don’t kill
7. Don’t commit adultery
8. Don’t steal
9. Don’t lie (Bear False Witness against your neighbor) I think this includes idle gossip.
10. Don’t covet. (Don’t let your desires lead you into wrong actions)
This is a good model for us all to strive for, and I’m sure that there are none of us who can claim to have always kept all of these. Especially in our modern society I think #’s 9 and 10 run rampant so much that we often don’t even recognize them as wrong.
However – to get back to our subject. There are some things that are sins to some, which may not be a sin to others. I’ll give you an example of one that I personally struggle with. I have been a smoker for years, and I’ve quit many times. Currently I am smoke free (Praise God!) but I still struggle with it daily. Now I know there are guys who will occasionally smoke a cigar or a puff on a pipe and they don’t have any trouble with that because it doesn’t reel them in like it would for me. As long as they don’t think they are sinning by having that cigar then I think they are fine. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. But for me, because it’s an addiction that I’ve struggled with and fought with for years to have just one cigar would be sinful because it would pull me back into a bondage that God is helping me to overcome. And even if I tried to convince myself that it was just one innocent incident, I would still have doubt in my heart, 23But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.
The big question is Are my actions reflecting my faith? Am I being true to myself and my own conscience? If God is convicting me of it, I better watch out and rethink my actions. I may need to ask for forgiveness and a fresh start and strength to overcome.
Prayer: God Almighty,
Please forgive me when I fail to live up to what I know you want me to be. Help me to listen to my heart and obey my conscience which you have given to me as a moral guide. Grant me the strength and wisdom to know what is right and wrong for me and to understand that it may be different in some ways to what is right and wrong for others.
Lord Please be with my grandparents as they are going through difficult times with their health and send healing and strength to my family.