The principles found in Scripture are forever relevant. The Word of God is continually contemporary. Therefore it instructs us through how God has dealt with the men and women of faith in the past and how they suffered for their faith, laid aside their liberties, and were used by God for His glory.
When we disagree with our brothers and sisters in Christ in the gray areas we are to look to the permanent principles revealed in God's continually contemporary Word so that we can be instructed from the Scripture on how to please one another.
First, when we look to the Scriptures we find that God is faithful. God is unchanging. He is immutable. He humbles those who exalt themselves and he exalts those who humble themselves. We have examples in the Scriptures of how God deals with the unrepentant in severity and the repentant in kindness. Those men and women of faith in the Bible found God to be absolutely, utterly, totally faithful. Knowing that God is faithful enables us to please one another even at the expense of our own liberties.
Second, when we look to the Scriptures we are given perseverance. We can look at the men and women of faith in the Bible and see their suffering and theirperseverance and be strengthened to persevere just as they did. This will enable us to endure all things for the sake of the elect (2 Timothy 2:10). Laying aside a few liberties for the sake of God's children isn't such a big thing when compared to the suffering endured by the faithful in Scripture. God is faithful and that gives us perseverance in difficult circumstances.
Third, when we look to the Scriptures we are given encouragement. We are encouraged by the Scriptures when we find ourselves in difficult circumstances and are reminded by God's Word that these difficult circumstances are actually a sign of salvation (Philippians 1:27-29). This is to give us encouragement in Christ (Philippians 2:1-3). God is faithful and that gives us perseverance and encouragement in difficult circumstances.
Finally, when we look to the Scriptures we are given hope. The Scriptures give us certainty (biblical hope) that we will be glorified after suffering for a while for our faith. Giving up a few liberties for the sake of the elect is nothing in light of suffering persecution for the faith and yet both are working for us a greater glory than the sufferings we are experiencing (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). God is faithful and that truth gives us perseverance and encouragement and hope so that we are able to lay aside our liberties for the sake of our weaker brothers and sisters in Christ. We learn this from the Scripture's instructions.
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The first principle for maintaining unity when Christians disagree (accept one another - Romans 14:1-12) has to do with our remembering that we are not the master of other Christians and that they are not our servants but the Lord’s...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Romans 14:1 – 15:7 is dealing with what we could call the gray areas of the Christian life or the nonessentials. All Christians are to agree upon the essentials of the Gospel because we are saved by the knowledge of the truth of the Gospel...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
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“In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in all things, charity!” This quote is often attributed to the great theologian Augustine, of the fourth century, but it actually came from a lesser known German Lutheran theologian,...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
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