gray issues

©2019 dan bulkley | ask@lifefellowship.org

conscience

Is a God given, innate romans 2:15 awareness of right and wrong that is shaped ii corinthians 1:12 by the various standards we are taught, practice and believe i corinthians 8:4-7 i corinthians 10:25-29 ; by it we judge ourselves romans 2:14-15 . This is an imperfect mechanism in imperfect people as it can be clear but still may not be innocent i corinthians 4:4 ecclesiastes 5:1 hosea 4:6 , and can be troubled but actually innocent i john 3:18-20 . So it must be truly cleansed hebrews 9:9 hebrews 10:14 and retrained in the Truth of God’s Word luke 11:33-36 psalm 119:105 and not made callous by the continual violation of it titus 1:15 ephesians 4:18-19 . In the end a truly clear conscience is focused on the good of others and the glory of the Lord i corinthians 10:24 i corinthians 10:31 . Any other opposing desires on questionable issues is not a gray area, but a matter of idolatry mark 8:33-35 .

supporting scriptures:

romans 2:15

They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)

ii corinthians 1:12

Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace.

my notes:

i corinthians 8:4-7

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.” 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), 6 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.

7 But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled.

i corinthians 10:25-29

Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, 26 for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”

27 If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. 28 But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience. 29 I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience?

romans 2:14-15

(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)

i corinthians 4:4

My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.

ecclesiastes 5:1

Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.

hosea 4:6

my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.

“Because you have rejected knowledge,

I also reject you as my priests;

because you have ignored the law of your God,

I also will ignore your children.

i john 3:18-20

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

19 This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

hebrews 9:9

This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper.

hebrews 9:14

How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

my notes:

luke 11:33-36

“No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. 35 See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. 36 Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.”

psalm 119:105

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

titus 1:15

To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.

ephesians 4:18-19

They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.

i corinthians 10:24

No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.

i corinthians 10:31

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

mark 8:33-35

But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.

my notes:

dealing with gray issues:

study passages:

romans 14:1-15:3

i corinthians 8

i corinthians 9:19-11:1

key principle: romans 14:5

romans 14:5

One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.

A person must be fully convinced what he is doing is accepted by the Lord. If you are not fully convinced on a gray area decision, it is now sin to you personally romans 14:14 because you doubt God’s acceptance of it romans 14:23 .

supporting scriptures:

romans 14:14

I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean.

romans 14:23

But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

my notes:

key principle: romans 14:1-4, 10-13

romans 14:1-4

Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

romans 14:10-13

You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written:

“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,

‘every knee will bow before me;

every tongue will acknowledge God.’”

12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.

Do not judge other’s decisions on gray issues as those type of issues are a matter of individual consciences before the Lord romans 14:12 proverbs 4:23 . What is an area of weakness or sin for one may not be for another i corinthians 10:29-30 .

my notes:

supporting scriptures:

romans 14:12

So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

proverbs 4:23

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

i corinthians 10:29-30

I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience? 30 If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?

my notes:

key principle: i corinthians 8:11

i corinthians 8:11

So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge.

Do not strengthen others to sin against their conscience jeremiah 23:14 ; inciting thoughts like, “If he can get away with it, then so can I” i corinthians 8:9-10. Do not make it harder for others to keep a clear conscience before the Lord romans 14:13 i corinthians 8:13 . Do not think because you are free others are; put other’s needs above your own i corinthians 8:13 i corinthians 10:24 philippians 2:3-4 Be careful to do what leads others towards Christ, not away from Him luke 11:23 ii corinthians 6:3 .

supporting scriptures:

jeremiah 23:14

And among the prophets of Jerusalem

I have seen something horrible:

They commit adultery and live a lie.

They strengthen the hands of evildoers,

so that not one of them turns from their wickedness.

They are all like Sodom to me;

the people of Jerusalem are like Gomorrah.”

i corinthians 8:9-10

Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols?

romans 14:13

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.

i corinthians 8:13

Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.

i corinthians 10:24

No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.

philippians 2:3-4

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

luke 11:23

“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

ii corinthians 6:3

We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited.

my notes:

key principle: ii corinthians 4:2, 6:3-4

ii corinthians 4:2

Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.

ii corinthians 6:3-4

We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. 4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses;

Don’t give unbelievers an excuse to reject Christ because of how you live i corinthians 10:23-11:1 . Be careful to be wise towards them colossians 4:5-6 so that you do not give unnecessary offense matthew 17:24-27 romans 12:17 , Gospel confusion galatians 2:5 i corinthians 8:4-9 , unwarranted obstacles i corinthians 9:19-22 acts 15:28 or worst, cause to blaspheme God romans 2:17-24 romans 14:16 . This applies even in gray issues, i.e.: alcohol, entertainment, voting, styles, diets, financial choices, jobs, hobbies, etc.

my notes:

supporting scriptures:

i corinthians 10:23-11:1

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.

25 Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, 26 for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”

27 If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. 28 But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience. 29 I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience? 30 If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?

31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33 even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. 1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

colossians 4:5-6

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

my notes:

matthew 17:24-27

After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma temple tax came to Peter and asked, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?”

25 “Yes, he does,” he replied.

When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. “What do you think, Simon?” he asked. “From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes—from their own children or from others?”

26 “From others,” Peter answered.

“Then the children are exempt,” Jesus said to him. 27 “But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.”

romans 12:17

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.

galatians 2:5

We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.

my notes:

i corinthians 8:4-9

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.” 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), 6 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.

7 But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. 8 But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.

9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.

i corinthians 9:19-22

Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.

acts 15:28

It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements:

my notes

romans 2:17-24

Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and boast in God; 18 if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; 19 if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of little children, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21 you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law?

romans 14:16

Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil.

key principle: romans 14:22

romans 14:22

So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves.

Don’t make your questionable decisions a public matter for your own validation. If it is acceptable to God that should be enough for us john 5:44 and we must be mindful that not all have the same conscience i corinthians 8:6-7 , and our validation is not from other’s agreement on our own conscience, but on our walk with the Lord i corinthians 8:8 romans 14:4 . So keep Christ’s interests in mind philippians 2:20-21 ; do not cause someone else to stumble over your desire to have your knowledgeable freedom confirmed and validated by others proverbs 12:23 i corinthians 8:11 . Be careful.

my notes:

supporting scriptures:

john 5:44

How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?

i corinthians 8:6-7

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.

7 But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled.

i corinthians 8:8

But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.

romans 14:4

Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

philippians 2:20-21

I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. 21 For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.

proverbs 12:23

The prudent keep their knowledge to themselves, but a fool’s heart blurts out folly.

i corinthians 8:11

So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge.

questions to judge your own conscience

are you thankful in your decision?

romans 14:6

are you living in your decision with the lord?

romans 14:7-8

are you avoiding needless offense of others by your choices?

i corinthians 10:32

are you seeking to build others up, rather than please yourself in your choices?

romans 14:19
i corinthians 8:1-2
i corinthians 10:24

are you glorying in and glorifying the lord in this choice?

i corinthians 10:30-31

are you being humble with god in your freedom?

micah 6:8

are you being careful to do right yourself in your choices?

micah 6:8

are you giving slack towards others in their freedom?

micah 6:8

my notes:

ask yourself...

Ask yourself if these criteria are being met in the “gray area” of your choices.

If “yes...”

hallelujah!

if “no...”

Your heart needs to repent and your way needs to be corrected. The questionable choice is no longer gray, it is black and white, GOOD and EVIL. Repent of what is an offense to God!