How do we deal with matters of differing convictions on non-salvation issues within the body of Christ?
Before we even go there, we must make it very clear that there is no room for discussion when it comes to essential doctrines like the nature of God, or the deity of Christ and the Holy Spirit, to name a few. There are absolute truths concerning our faith that we must earnestly contend for (Jude 3).
However, as we will see in Romans 14, there are many other issues on which brothers and sisters in Christ may not see eye to eye. That is where we need to understand what the Bible says about the perimeters of Christian liberty. Christian liberty properly understood means that I need to take into consideration how my display of that particular liberty effects not only an unsaved person, but a brother or sister in Christ as well.
The moral and social issues that they dealt with back in the days of Paul may or may not be the hot topics of today, but the underlying principles of how to deal with them amongst ourselves remains the same. The moment that we begin to hold the rest of the body of Christ accountable to our personal, non-salvation related doctrines we become Pharisees and legalistic. Granted, it is not an easy thing to hold those convictions without thinking that every other single person in the body should feel the same way. But, as will see over the next couple of weeks, that is simply not Scriptural, though it most certainly is a fact of walking with Christ within a church family.
May the Holy Spirit truly reveal to us the heart that we all must cultivate on this very important topic. Dealing with differences is important enough for God to put them in the Bible. Therefore, may we consider it important enough to listen and learn!
For further study, read all of Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8.