Principles for Convictions

Blaine Robison, M.A.

 

Published 14 May 2011; Revised 8 August 2011

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Followers of Yeshua are divided on many issues. What is right and wrong? The apostolic writings clearly identifies some activities that are vices to be avoided for the sake of one's relationship with God (Rom 13:9-13; 1 Cor 6:9-10; Gal 5:19-21; Rev 21:8; 22:15). Yet, the Bible seems to be silent on many other practices over which believers disagree.

However, the Bible is far from silent on guidance. For all the topics about which the Bible doesn't directly address, Scripture does give many principles which we can (and must) use today to make our own decisions. Pick an activity or practice important to you and subject it to the following principles.

Consecration: A disciple is the property of God and must serve Yeshua as absolute Master of life, seeking to please Him in every way. Belonging to Yeshua, the disciple is only free to live as Yeshua did in holiness and righteousness. Can you visualize Yeshua doing this activity? [John 8:29; 17:9-10; 1 Cor 6:19-20; Col 1:10]

Commandments: God has revealed His will in the Bible in specific commandments to do certain behavior or to refrain from certain behavior. Does the activity violate a clear commandment in God's Word? [John 14:15; 1 Cor 7:19; 1 John 3:4]

Conscience: Since the disciple is created in the image of God and re-created in the new birth, the disciple has an innate sense of right and wrong. Can you engage in the activity without any pangs of guilt or self-condemnation? Would you feel guilty if your behavior was published on the congregation's bulletin board? [Matt 12:35; 15:19; Rom 2:14-15; 14:22-23]

Choice: God has always intended that His children have freedom of choice within limits. In non-moral decisions a disciple may do as he pleases without fear of sinning. Could this activity be non-moral? [Gen 2:16; Matt 15:20; Rom 4:15]

Consequences: Things or activities by their essential nature may be good, neutral or bad for man's physical or mental well-being, because of its effect on you. Is the activity truly good for you or will it harm you in some way? [Mark 9:43; Prov 6:27; 1 Cor. 6:12; 10:23]

Confession: Disciples are to openly identify their allegiance to Yeshua and in doing so exercise influence on unbelievers to convince them of their need for salvation. Unbelievers judge the good news, the God's people and Yeshua by the words and actions of His disciples. Will your behavior hinder the salvation of an unbeliever or cause an unbeliever to doubt your testimony? [Matt 5:13; Luke 12:8-9; 1 Cor 10:32-33]

Conservation: God has given His people many assets to be kept in trust. God holds us accountable for how we use the money and property He has provided. Will this activity waste resources that could have benefited your loved ones or the work of God? If Yeshua audited your "books," would you be embarrassed at having to explain some expenditures. [Matt 24:45 - 25:30; Luke 16:10-12]

Consistency: A Christian's beliefs, values and stated convictions must be manifest in his works and deeds. Christian ethics and morals must flow from principle to practice, not the other way around. Could you be entertained by that which would be wrong for you to do yourself? [Matt 16:6; 23:25; Mark 7:6-8; Rom. 2:17-24; Titus 1:16]

Companions: A disciple must be careful with whom friendships are formed, because a strong unbeliever can influence a weak believer with disastrous results. Will involvement in this activity give an unbeliever wrong influence over you? Would you be able to keep the unbeliever as a friend if you did not follow his behavior or if you shared the good news with him? [Matt 7:6; 1 Cor 15:33; 1 Pet 4:3-4]

Control: A disciple must not to be mastered by anything, whether material, physical, chemical or sexual. God calls the disciple to a life of contentment free from compulsive desires. Would the activity endanger your self-control? [John 8:31-36; 1 Pet 4:7; 2 Pet 2:19]

Calendar: Time on earth is limited so that setting priorities becomes important. God intended for His children to work, serve, worship and rest. The same amount of time is given to all and there are many opportunities to do good. Will this activity be a wise use of your time. [Ex 20:11; Luke 17:26-29; Eph 5:15-16; Jas 4:13-17]

Children: The behavior of adults, particularly parents, represents the nature of God and the good news to children. Children do not always understand complex philosophical issues. They see things as black or white. Will your behavior or activity hinder the spiritual development of a child who looks up to you as a model to follow? [Matt 18:6-10; 19:14]

Comity: God values relationships and calls on His children to live at peace with each other and to respect one another. A disciple should avoid behavior that would promote dissension or disharmony in relationships with other disciples. [Mark 9:50; Rom 14:13-21; 1 Cor 8:9-13]

Congregation: The household of God was built on the foundation of the original apostles and prophets with Yeshua as the cornerstone. Identification with the Body of Messiah, as reflected in both public immersion and association with a local congregation of believers, presumes a commitment to live under the authority of the apostles and to be respectful of pastoral leadership. Will this activity conflict with the principles established by the apostles or the position of your congregation? [Matt 16:18-19; 1 Cor. 10:32; Eph 2:19-20; Heb 13:17]

By applying these principles a disciple will have all the wisdom needed to make decisions in living a life devoted to Yeshua. The fundamental principle that should guide all our decisions is "whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Yeshua did." [1 John 2:6]

Copyright 1989, 2011 Blaine Robison. All rights reserved.