I know I have been slack concerning my writing, but I hope this will partially make steps in the right direction in that regard. What I want to talk about is a pharisaical habit of making rules where there are none. The motivation for the Pharisees to do this seemed to be good. If there was no specific law, they could take a look at what was there and make their own rules and bind them on others. Never mind that this is an affront to God and says in effect that He forgot to tell us something.
There are numerous so called “gray areas” where things are just not spoken about in the Bible. I put these into some specific categories for your consideration. But please, throughout this post, remember Romans 4:15:
“For the law brings wrath, because where there is no law there is no transgression either.” Romans 4:25 (NET)
1. Things we have now that didn’t exist in ancient times. One example I can think of is, “how much time should I spend working in my car?”. Well the Bible doesn’t address home mechanics because they didn’t have cars back then. Each one should research Scripture, and then pray about it. Determine what biblical principles might apply to the situation (i.e. Stewardship, family obligations, etc.) and decide what is best.
2. Things that the Bible mentions in both positive and negative lights. For instance wine with dinner. Some people can do this with no problem, and others have conscience issues with it. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. If you are a recovering alcoholic, you should, not do this. But also don’t condemn those who are able to do so. We should just determine not to put a stumbling block in another’s way. (See Romans 14 for a more thorough discussion of this)
3. Things that have bee common for millennia, but are not spoken about in a positive or negative sense in Scripture. This can get a little dicey. But this is also where we get in trouble with God for calling things sinful that are not. Remember Romans 4:15
“where there is no law there is no transgression either.” As much as we think something is not good, we cannot out the sin label on it unless there is a law against it specifically. Since I tend not to shy away from controversy, let me give you an example – masturbation. (I’m 53, so this isn’t some young man out of control with raging hormones trying to justify his behavior.) Even though this practice has been common for centuries, the Bible never addresses it. There is no law against it. Therefore we cannot call it a transgression. Please don’t bring up Onan here, because this is not what he was doing. Ah, but you have to lust to do it! Wrong, especially for young men and women. They have the ability to do it based on hormone alone! Besides, lust is “desire with intent”, so unless there are plotting to steal someone’s spouse, they are not committing adultery in their hearts. But how many young people are taught the opposite and walk around with loads of false guilt from pharisaical teaching?
We dare not accuse God of forgetting to mention a sin, or we are attacking the sufficiency of Scripture. Besides, that data shows that close to 100% of men and 60% of women do it anyway because it is a natural form of release prior to marriage.
So let’s stop making rules where God has not. The Bible is silent on this, so we must also be silent. But again, just because something is allowed doesn’t make it wise to do it. Prayerfully make your decision and then live with it without condemning those who decide differently.