Christian liberty, what does God require?

Although the focus of Paul’s teaching in Rom. 14 is on how the church is to treat the weaker brother, the apostle’s concerns go both directions: “Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him” Rom. 14:3.

If, as we have seen, God has given wine to man for his use but never for its abuse, if sin lies not in the thing itself but in the heart and actions of people, then the focus of our concern ought not to be on the thing itself, but on how what we do affects our relationship with God, our impact on and attitude towards others, and Continue reading “Christian liberty, what does God require?”

Reflections on the Spirit’s Intercession

“Pastor, I don’t know how to pray for my mother since her stroke.  Do I pray for her life to continue–though I know she is suffering deeply–or that the Lord she loves will take her?”  What should be the content of your prayers?  How should a Christian pray about finding a mate?  What is the content of your prayers about your work?   How do you pray for the troubled world in which you live?

In Romans 8:26-27 Paul tells you the bad news: you don’t know Continue reading “Reflections on the Spirit’s Intercession”

The teaching of Christian liberty abused

Paul’s teaching in Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8 has sometimes been distorted to encourage or even require believers to take a position of total abstinence.  In “The Weak and the Strong” (see the link here) John Murray writes:

In our modern context this passage is often applied to the situation that arises from excess in the use of certain kinds of food or drink. It is particularly in connection with intemperance in the matter of fermented beverages Continue reading “The teaching of Christian liberty abused”