Determining What is Acceptable to God

by Pastor Paul M. Sadler

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“Living the Christian life can be challenging at times. How do we determine what is acceptable to God when there is no direct command of Christ?”

The Word of God is always relevant—it transcends the ages! If a particular matter isn’t dealt with specifically in Paul’s writings, we are to defer to a broader principle. For example, you may want to ask yourself the question, will my action or participation in something glorify God? If you have any reservations whatsoever, you are probably skating on thin ice. Paul says, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (I Cor. 10:31).

Another principle to apply is to “prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil” (I Thes. 5:21,22). Proving has the sense of putting things to a test. If you are remodeling an old house and the steps going upstairs look unsafe, you naturally make sure that the steps will hold your weight before you attempt to ascend the stairs. We wouldn’t think of placing ourselves in harm’s way—the same should also be true of our spiritual life.

Test: Should we take possession of something that is not rightfully ours? To illustrate, what would you do if you came across a satchel of money sitting beside a park bench? Often, examining the conduct of a servant of God in such matters will help determine whether our actions will be acceptable to the Lord.

When the Apostle Paul won Onesimus to Christ at Rome he could have reasoned that since this runaway slave’s slate was wiped clean from past offenses he would claim him as his own. After all, think how profitable Onesimus could have been to Paul in the work of the ministry. But Onesimus rightfully belonged to Philemon, so the aged apostle returned him, along with a letter, to allow his coworker in the faith to make that decision. In other words, he didn’t simply assume his friend would understand, he did what was right. The Lord will handsomely reward Paul for his good deed at the Judgment Seat of Christ. What would you do if you found yourself in a similar set of circumstances?

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."

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