Gray Areas

Gray areas

Sometimes it’s not so easy to call a sin a sin. After all, the Bible doesn’t address every issue we face. So how do we know what’s sin and what’s not? Ken Werlein, pastor of Faithbridge Church in Spring, Texas, once described five test questions we can use to help us determine right from wrong, Biblical from unbiblical. Together those five questions become a filter of sorts. If the action I’m wondering about passes all five tests, then it probably isn’t sin. I’d like to share his filtering system with you today. Here are his five questions.

Is it Biblical? In other words, does the Bible actually address the situation? For example, I don’t have to wonder whether or not it’s okay to steal. This test requires some digging, though. The Bible addresses a myriad of circumstances, going far beyond the Ten Commandments. I find to be a great help as I study the Scriptures.

Is it a stumbling block? Even if the act is not sin in and of itself, it may cause another person to sin. In that case, out of love for another believer, I ought to skip it. My fellow believer’s purity is more important than my personal freedom.

Is it beneficial? Is it good for me now and will having done whatever it is continue to be a good thing when it is indelibly recorded in my past? (Said the opposite way, does it do any harm to me or to another person? Will it result in regret later?)

Does this action or behavior have control of me? Has it become my master? An addiction? If so, that’s a bright red flag. Ken wisely said, “When in doubt, ask a family member or trusted friend, one who is willing to shoot straight with you, whether or not you are being controlled by some substance or behavior.”

Will this action bring glory to God? Since everything we do is to be to his glory, if it would dishonor him instead of bringing glory, it doesn’t make it through the filter.

I hope this line of thinking will help you next time you find yourself navigating the gray!
You can listen to the whole sermon at the link below (and I hope you do.)


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