If You Love Me...

Have been studying about conviction recently in chapter nine of The Pursuit of Holiness.  Our convictions come from what we believe to be right and wrong and should be grounded in the Scriptures.  Knowing the ten commandments is only the beginning of where our convictions should come from (and most Christians do not have the 10 Commandments memorized).  How do you know if you can or can not eat meat?  Would God rather you defend yourself and your family with deadly force, or should we turn the other cheek?  Are "dishonest scales" okay because everybody is doing it?  What about dating?  Shouldn't we have arranged marriages?

You might have a lot of convictions about certain things in your life.  Why do some Christians drink a glass of wine with dinner and other Christians shudder when they are offered a Coke?  If your convictions are not based upon clear commands in Scripture or a "gray" area that is not exactly clear but better safe than sorry, then your convictions are just opinions.  Paul was clear that all things were permissible to him (although not all is beneficial).  I think that Paul would sit down to a steak dinner with peas and mashed potatoes and a glass of wine as long as he was certain that he would not be mastered by any of it (I Corinthians 6:12).  However, if he had a problem with longing for steak to a point that he needed it, for him it would certainly be sin to eat that steak because he was being mastered by it.  And if he was a recovering alcoholic, it would certainly be sin for him to drink that glass of wine because it could easily master him again.

Paul would also put away the wine and steak when dinning with a brother who was convinced that steak and wine were sinful.  Perhaps Paul could have quoted Jesus or His disciples saying that wine was okay and even good for you, but he would be leading his invited guests to sin.  Any conviction that you go against is sin.  And nobody should ever lead anybody to go against their convictions.

Certainly convictions are extremely important if we are going to live a life dedicated to obeying our Lord.  Our convictions need to be based on Biblical teaching and not on opinions of others or even our own opinions.  In order to have Biblical based convictions we need to be in the Word and studying the Word.  We need to hide the Word in our hearts in order to not sin (Psalm 119:11).  The next step is living according to our convictions.  Doing this will put sin to death, which is the title of chapter 9 of The Pursuit of Holiness.

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