Table of Contents
There is a wrong idea adopted by some that every Christian has the liberty to do what he pleases without regard to the effect of his behavior upon others, so long as he is not breaking God’s law (1 Peter 2:15, 16).
The Bible teaches that faithful believers should be careful to avoid doing that which will offend the weak Christians in the church, or place a stumbling block in their path. By causing others to be negatively influenced, a believer in reality breaks the law that teaches Christians to love their brethren and seek their welfare. Jesus commanded, “‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39 also John 15:12, 17; Romans 13:10; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8).
Liberty and the Salvation of Others
The strongest argument against the misuse of freedom to do a specific act is when that liberty harms the salvation of someone else. The Bible teaches that nothing should be done that will belittle the effect of Christ’s blood on behalf of another person.
Jesus said, “but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6). In other words, woe to that man who, by word or action, leads others to sin or discourages them from following God.
The Christian, who has a clear sense of what the Savior has done for him, will not insist on being so selfish and uncaring to the welfare of his brethren as to do an act that would lead the “weak” brother to go against his conscience. Paul says, “Therefore let us not … put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way” (Romans 14:13). Here, the apostle gives this general caution to stop any action that, though lawful in itself, may offend or confuse the believer who is not yet convinced that such actions are divinely permitted.
He who loves the Lord with all of his heart will not want to use his liberty in such a way that his brethren are misled. On the contrary, he will be glad to deny himself privileges and pleasures if by so doing he can avoid offending anyone. The Christian who is deciding on taking a specific action will not only ask: Is this OK? But will also ask: How will this affect my brother’s salvation? May the Lord help us be conscientious about our freedoms in Christ.
In His service,