Christians live under grace and not under law. We are not bound by food laws, as were the children of Israel nor by a dress code as were the priests of Jehovah –but neither should we criticize those who choose to follow their consciences in certain matters. We are not required to worship on a specific day nor are we commanded to keep certain feast days, special festivals or the many ordinances imposed by man – for as believers in the age of grace we are free from the bondage of law. On the one hand we should not be critical of those who choose to worship and behave in a certain way – but on the other hand we should also be careful that neither our actions nor our abstinences place us back under law!
As Christians we need to remember that everything is permissible, but not everything is helpful. Believers are not under law and the things that we do should build up our brothers and sisters in Christ and not be a direct or an indirect criticism of their behaviours – and so we are instructed not to let what we personally regard as good, to be spoken of as evil – we are to be careful that our freedom in this age of grace does not cause a brother or sister in Christ to be upset or offended.
As he shares the gospel of grace, Paul outlines the importance of not judging the behaviours of our Christian brethren and specifically mentions what we eat and drink, what we wear and how we worship, reminding us that Christ died and rose again, to free us from the bondage of laws and codes rituals and ceremonies. But he also pointed out that it is not our place to judge others who behave somewhat differently from us, for we are each personally accountable to God alone. But in this age or grace we are to be sensitive to the fact that actions, which we know to be permissible before God, may become a stumbling-block to a Christian brother or sister, whose conscience dictates otherwise, causing them to falter in their faith.
Let us therefore in love and grace be sensitive to the needs of others – neither compromising the gospel of Christ nor causing our liberty in Christ to be a stumbling block to other brothers and sisters in Christ - let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.
Loving Father, keep me I pray from trying to maintain Church unity at the expense of the truth of the gospel of grace, but also keep me from allowing the beautiful freedom I have by grace through faith in Christ, from criticising others whose consciences lead them in a different direction. Help me therefore to make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification – for I desire to glorify Your name in all I say and do, in Jesus name I pray, AMEN.