By Ernest O'Neill

What About Issues the Bible Isn't Specific About?

By Rev. Ernest O'Neill

I think it's fairly certain this morning that some of us here drink alcohol and don't see anything wrong with it because we are doing it in moderation. And yet, others of us here think that you can't drink alcohol and claim to be born of God, even in moderation.

Now, what do you do about that kind of a question? And that's what we've been talking about these past months. It's discussed fully in a chapter in the book of Romans, chapter 14. You remember what Paul says there, and it's really God speaking through him to us this morning. He says, "Look, if you are studying this book and are open to what it says to you, and if this book does not definitely forbid you to drink alcohol or, this book does not definitely forbid you to do something else, it's important to live by your own conscience.” In other words, "If this Bible is not specific about some issue then it's vital that you live by your own conscience and that you make your will correspond to your conscience."

You remember what he says, he says, "Look, don't look down on people that seem to be more liberal than you are about that kind of thing." He makes it plain, "I am not talking about murder or stealing or fornication -- the things that are clearly and definitely forbidden in God's word. I am talking about other things about which there isn't absolute clarity. In that situation, don't look down on people that are more liberal than you are about something."

On the other hand, don't you yourself think that as long as your conscience allows you to do a thing, then that's justification for you to do it. Because really you're governed by a higher law. You're to be responsible not only for what your conscience allows you to do, but for what your behavior may be doing to somebody else. And if your behavior, just because it's more liberal, entices somebody else to ignore their conscience, then of course you are to be guided by that.