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Grey Areas

How do you handle issues that the Bible doesn’t speak about?  Usually, these activities create controversy in the church.  Many believers argue about things like gambling, tattoos, drinking alcohol, or buying lottery tickets.

In Paul’s day, the issue was about buying meat that had been sacrificed at a pagan temple.  It was the best meat in the marketplace.  But there were many who said that it was a sin to eat it.

In chapters 8 through 10 of his letter to the Corinthian church, the Apostle gives some guiding principles.

So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one.  For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.
1 Corinthians 8:4-6

I find this to be an amazing passage of Scripture.  Here you have a former Pharisee looking at the issue and not immediately saying, “It’s a sin, don’t do it.”

Instead, Paul takes a step back and looks at it in logical terms.  What’s an idol?  It’s nothing at all.  A statue made of metal or wood.  It has no power or ability to do anything.

I think that our problem in dealing with these “hot button” activities is that we get emotionally invested in our conclusions.  We have a definite opinion about whether something is sin or not.  Usually, that’s the case even though the Bible is silent about it.

There are many activities that God clearly defines as sin.  There are lists in the Bible that tell us what God hates and instructs us not to participate.  There’s no question – these things are not God’s will for us.

The problem comes about in these grey areas.  Many of these activities existed since the times of the Patriarchs.  Yet the Lord chose not to speak about them.  If that’s the case, then why do we get so worked up about them?

We need to take a lesson from Paul.  Step back, get rid of the emotional attachments, and look at it from a purely Biblical perspective.  He starts at the bottom line.  Idols are nothing, God is everything.

In all areas of life, we have to look at our relationship with God as the overriding factor.  Everything that I do should revolve around Christ.  We seem to forget that sometimes.

With Paul, that’s the starting point.  We begin with a desire to please Christ.  It’s not about proving that I’m right.

So often, when it comes to these grey areas, it’s a matter of checking our motives.  In many cases, I’ve been approached by Christian teens asking if a certain activity was a sin.  They were trying to get me to override their parents.

“Pastor Nick says that it’s not a sin, so why won’t you let me do it?”

In those cases, I bring it around to the true issue.  It’s always a sin to disrespect your parents.  As long as you’re under their authority, you need to abide by their decisions, even if you think that they’re wrong.

Usually, it’s not as simple as asking if something is a sin.  There are many things in life that are not a sin, but they are also not God’s will for me to take part in.  I have to consider that as well.

Our walk with God is the top priority.  We should be trying, with all of our heart, to please the Lord in all that we do.  That’s the start of a pure walk with God.

Question: What are some special limits that God has placed upon your life?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2019 in Legalism, Spiritual Walk

 

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Infant Sons

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen we are saved, we’re adopted into God’s family as infants. We then need to grow into the full-fledged rights of sonship. I want to take a few posts to go through the growth stages that we find in the Scripture. We start our walk with God as infants.

Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly — mere infants in Christ.
1 Corinthians 3:1

One of the main characteristics of an infant in Christ is worldliness. They run after the things that our society says will satisfy them. They have the same mindset as the world and place importance on obtaining things and pleasures.

Unfortunately, because we are unaware of the growth process, many overzealous believers will write these people off. Sometimes in our self-righteous fervor we may even accuse them of being unsaved. That’s as foolish as telling your 5-month old that he’s not a part of the family because he never takes out the trash. Instead of condemning them, we should be there to help guide them through the growth process.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.
Ephesians 4:14

Spiritual infants are inexperienced in the Word. Because of this, they’re very trusting of anyone quoting a Bible verse. They tend to jump in with any new fad that comes out on Christian radio or TV.

That’s why they need to be firmly grounded in a local church where the basics of the Scripture are taught. That’s the only way they can learn to distinguish truth from flakiness.

The United States has become a hotbed for new doctrines for people to follow. Sometimes I watch Christian cable networks. I see people who use the Scriptures to convince you to take money from your wallet and put it into theirs.

Even though their doctrines and teachings are foolish, out of context from the Scripture, and, many times, illogical, Christians flock to their meetings. They rake in millions of dollars a year. Spiritually speaking, they’re “stealing candy from babies.”

But, more than anything else, the infant stage of our walk with God is characterized by the following…

Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.
Hebrews 5:13

The word acquainted in this verse literally means to test, attempt, or experience. This verse says that the infant believer has not yet tested, attempted or experienced the Word of righteousness. Yes, they are righteous by position in Christ. But they haven’t yet learned how to apply it to their daily walk.

So many American believers are living for themselves, yet they feel secure because they only know about positional righteousness.  When they read the Bible, or hear a sermon about the effects and blessings of righteousness, they think it automatically applies to them.   Little do they realize that so much of Scripture deals with the walk of righteousness rather than the position.

Because of the lack of teaching on the Word of Righteousness we have produced a generation of Christians who seem to be perpetual infants. They are continuing in their habits and sins. They follow after whatever the world offers them. Worst of all, they don’t realize their condition – total powerlessness in the spiritual realm.

It’s time for us to grow up in Christ.

Question: How do you treat the infant believers that are in your circle?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2014 in Sonship, The Church

 

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Evolution vs. Creation…Is it Really that Important?

OrbitTalk about a controversial subject.  Why should we even bother discussing it?  The debate over Creationism only gets people mad, and makes them think that Christians are backward thinking hicks.  Is our view on this issue important to our walk with God?  I want to take a few posts to weigh in on the subject.  I think you’ll be surprised by some of the truths involved.

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
Hebrews 11:3

A little while ago I did a series of posts on the subject of True Faith.  I came to the conclusion that faith is a walk of discovery and response.  That is, discovering God’s truth and how we respond to it.

What do we discover in this verse?  Actually, we see the foundation of our walk with God.  So often we discount the importance of this truth.  We get wishy-washy because it’s so controversial in our society.  In our desire to sound modern and relevant, we end up denying the very core of who we are as believers.

The hot topic in question is intelligent design vs. evolution.  We seem to think it’s only a peripheral debate.

If that’s the case, then why does the enemy think it’s so important to attack?  Why is it such a main area of discussion when atheists try to show how “foolish” Christianity is?

The reason is crystal clear.  Faith understands that there’s a Creator.  That concept is foundational to our walk with the Lord.  If there’s no Creator, then there’s no purpose to life.  We would also have no responsibility for our actions.  There would be no such thing as sin and no need for forgiveness.  In that case, there would be no final judgment.  Following that logic, there would be no need for a Savior, the cross, or the resurrection.

Everything we believe rests upon the truth that there is a Creator-God, and that we were created by Him and for Him.  That’s why the subject is so important to those who oppose Christianity.  The Creation account is the bedrock upon which everything else we believe is built.

If my faith in God as Creator is shaky, then anything else I believe will be subject to doubt.  I must get the foundation solid in order to stand secure in my faith.

This is such an important subject.  Let me suggest that you subscribe for these posts to come to you via e-mail so that you don’t miss any.

Question: How important do you feel it is to believe in Creation?

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2012 in Creation, Faith

 

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Walking With God

What is God’s greatest call on your life?  What does He want you to do more than anything else?

Micah 6:8
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

This is probably one of the most important concepts for any Christian to understand.  It is God’s greatest desire for His people.  It’s for them to come into relationship with Him.  It’s not just about going to Him when we need help, but to simply spend time with Him – to walk with the Lord.

If you read the beginning of Genesis you will find that God walked regularly with Adam before the fall.  Great men of faith, like Enoch, Abraham, and Moses walked with God.  That’s His desire for us as well.

Walking with someone assumes certain things.  It means that you have agreed to go in the same direction.  You’re also going the same speed.  In order for this to happen in the spiritual, we need to spend time with the Lord to get to know His heart.  What direction is He going, and how quickly?

There is another key word in this verse – humbly.  I am not the one setting the pace for this walk.  I must yield my will to His.  It’s unfortunate that so much of our time in prayer is spent trying to get God to walk in our direction and at our speed.  No wonder there are so many frustrated Christians.  We must learn that it’s God’s plan that’s important.  I must pick up His plan if I want to succeed in this life.

Take the time today to humble yourself before God.  Lay your plans at His feet.  Let the Lord know that you’re willing to let Him set the pace for your life.  Then you can go forward in the security that your destination is the one that God has planned out for you.

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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