March 5, 2018
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
Today we will look at the Fourth Gate of The Four Gates Of Christian Conduct! These four verses from Romans 14 can be used to check what we are about to say or do, to see if it will be acceptable before God. No, it is not the end-check for all things for the rest of your Christian life! Throughout our Christian lives, we are called to “…grow in grace and…knowledge…” (II Peter 3:18) as we follow the Lord. But these four Scriptures can be helpful as general guidelines for living. Here are The first Three Gates Of Christian Conduct in a quick review:
• Roman 14:12 (The First Gate Of Christian Conduct) – “So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.” At the Believers’ Bema Seat Judgment (see I Corinthians 3:10-15), Christ will examine how we lived our lives after putting our faith in Him! If how we have lived glorified God, we will receive rewards to be enjoyed forever in heaven. If we have lived for our own pleasure, any rewards will be lost, but we will be saved.
• Romans 14:16 (The Second Gate Of Christian Conduct) – “Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil.” Although this cannot always be avoided, we should be careful to have our good lives and works interpreted as being good!
• Romans 14:21 (The Third Gate Of Christian Conduct) – “It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.” Not every believer has the strength of faith you may have! If you can take a drink of wine before the Lord, so be it! But what if a brother who is a recovering alcoholic sees your freedom and so ‘falls off the wagon’?
• Romans 14:23 (The Fourth Gate Of Christian Conduct) – “But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not of faith is sin.”
✞ As we discussed in the third blog of this four-blog series, the problem with which Paul was dealing had to do with food sold in the market place after it had been offered to idols!
▸ Some believers considered such food unacceptable. In their minds it was somehow ‘infected’ with sin because it had been placed before false gods! According to I Corinthians 8:7, Paul describes Christians who would be bothered by such action as, “…some, with consciousness of the idol…eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.”
▸ The apostle argues that mature and strong Christians, knowing “…that an idol is nothing in the world, and there is no other God but one…” have freedom to eat such food.
✞ But this applies to anything we say or do! We are told four times in the Scriptures (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38): “The just shall live by faith.” Even once mentioned in the Bible is enough for us to take notice! But four times! This is important! It means, everything about the life of the one justified by faith is to be lived out before God in faith! If it can’t be said or done in that way, it is sin! Don’t do it!
So there you have it – The Four Gates of Christian Conduct:
• Roman 14:12 – “So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.”
• Romans 14:16 – “Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil.”
• Romans 14:21 – “It is good neither to…do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.”
• Romans 14:23 – “But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not of faith is sin.”
These Four Gates will help keep a Christian from getting into trouble. Of course, there is a lot more to be learned than just these four Scriptures. When Paul told Timothy, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth…” (II Timothy 2:15 – KJV); he was giving strong advice to an up-and-coming pastor. But such an admonition needs to be pursued by all true believers! And this is a life-long pursuit!
May God grant us whatever is needed to pursue Him “…with all…our heart, with all…our soul, with all…our mind, and with all…our strength.” (Mark 12:30). But this is only half of what is called ‘The Great Commandment‘! “ And the second, like it, is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” So remember, we are responsible not just to God, but to our brothers and sisters in Christ as well! (See I Corinthians 8:9-13).