Freedom of Conscience before God
Hello! This is Pastor Don of Christ Redeemer Church. Welcome to The Kingdom Perspective!
Even as Christians, it is inevitable that we are going to have differing perspectives, differing consciences, born from our different backgrounds and experiences. The Bible clearly tells us that not everything in life is a matter of absolute truth. There are matters of “conscience” (Romans 14). Therefore, we have a responsibility not to sit in judgment of one another, but to understand, love, and serve one another under the kingly authority of Jesus—despite our differing perspectives.
To discern this and live into it is more necessary in our present cultural moment, where society-at-large is fraught with such moral confusion and decay. We must be strong in the essentials but charitable in the non-essentials.
Listen to Paul as he presses the church in Rome—a church, by the way, that was split along moral, cultural, ethnic, and political divisions that make our present cultural conflicts look tame:
“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…. But as for you, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or you as well, why do you regard your brother or sister with contempt? For we will all appear before the judgment seat of God. For it is written: ‘As I live, says the Lord, to Me every knee will bow, and every tongue will give praise to God.’ So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God…. (Romans 14:4, 10-12, emphasis added)
The true and final Judge has commanded us to understand and accept one another. And He does so precisely because He has already been judged for us all. “So then we must pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another” (Romans 14:19).
And this is something, not only to think about, but also to work at, from The Kingdom Perspective.
“One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.”
~Romans 14:2-9 (NIV)