What We Believe
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July 28 Daily Devotional

(Monthly Theme: The Gospel According to Paul)

When in Doubt, Abstain

Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven

"But those who have doubts are condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin." —Romans 14:23

Bible Reading

ROMANS 14:13-23

Devotional

We must do all things in the conviction that we are doing right before God. When we lack that conviction, we must abstain.

That's different from saying that we can do anything—as long as we "can't see anything wrong in it." That phrase we hear too often. People always say it defensively: "If you can't prove I'm wrong, I'll go ahead and do it."

We ought to be more serious about living with the gift of freedom. Jesus Christ has set us free from the power of sin and the power of the law. He has given us peace with God. Now we must use that freedom responsibly. And at all times we must retain our peace with God.

After all, the basic rule of Christian living is that we live by faith. Whether we eat or drink, live or die, we are the Lord's. This tie with God, which is called faith, must be preserved at all costs. So Paul did not tell the "weak" members that they should eat what he considered to be legitimate food (v. 14). Instead he told them that they must "keep the faith" (v. 22). Whenever they think they cannot do a certain thing and keep faith in God at the same time, they should not do it.

The biblical principle is that "those who have doubts are condemned." Why? Because "everything that does not come from faith is sin."

The blessedness of our lives is never in the things we see or eat or do or buy but always in our relationship to God. If that relationship is broken, all things turn to ashes. Any fun, any gain, any day, anything for which we cannot honestly thank God is not of faith. It is sin; it comes between God and us. It can never be a blessing. It is a curse. The principle is that we should abstain when in doubt.

But any fun, any feast, any gift, any purchase, and any relationship that is "from faith" is good. God must be praised and thanked for such things because he is the source from whom all blessings flow.

REFLECTIONS

What kinds of things might you abstain from because you could not honestly thank God for them?


Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a modern devotional classic, was originally published by Paideia Press in 1977. This updated edition is copyright 2009 by Faith Alive Christian Resources. You can order a copy of this revised version of the book directly from the publisher.

A man of many accomplishments, Andrew Kuyvenhoven is probably best known for his contributions to Today (formerly The Family Altar), a widely-used monthly devotional booklet associated with the Back to God Hour. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for this updated edition of Daylight are from the Holy Bible: Today's New International Version copyright 2001, 2005 by the International Bible Society.

 

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