“One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. . .So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:5, 12, KJV 1900)
As we saw yesterday, there are many areas in Christianity where believers have differing convictions. Paul wrote about two of these in Romans 14:5-6. Here he listed the issue of esteeming days and eating. Yesterday, I briefly looked at the issue of eating. In the issue of days, it is likely that many Jewish believers continued to hold the Sabbath and other Jewish holy days as higher than others. Others considered all days as holy. Today, we have this same controversy over Sunday.
However, the issue of days is not the main point. We need to understand how to deal with differences of opinions. Yesterday, the Scripture told us not to despise or judge another who holds a differing opinion. Today we see two additional principles.
First, Paul states that every man must be fully convinced in his own mind. Here we see the principle of having personal convictions. It is important for believers to have convictions in these disputable areas. However, let me say that just because they are disputable, it does not mean that God sees these as gray areas. With God there is no middle ground. Things are either right or they are wrong. For this reason, it is vital that every believer be fully convinced regarding his own convictions. Yet, while we are fully convinced of our opinion as the right one, we should not despise one who does not hold that same conviction. This is because he also should be fully convinced.
This leads me to the second point. It is important for believers to be fully convinced in their minds on these disputable issues because all will stand before the bema, judgment seat, of God (v10). Believers will be judged according to their deeds. However, this is not a judgment that will result in condemnation and punishment. We should not judge a person for their opinion on disputable issues. We are to leave that to our Lord, for each person will have to give an account for themselves.
Every believer is personally responsible for his interpretation of Scripture. For this reason, we should move beyond seeking others to tell us what our opinions should be. On the contrary, we must seek to establish our own convictions so that we will be fully convinced.
So how does one establish convictions in which they will be fully convinced? It is through the fervent and effectual study of the Word of God as illuminated by the Spirit. This means that the believer must study the entire Bible on the subject because the Word of God speaks to every issue of life. It also means that the believer must be filled with the Spirit when tackling these issues.