22 Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. 23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin. (Romans 14:22–23, NKJV)
The personal “faith” of which Paul speaks here, is one’s personal confidence (trust) of conscience to participate in a God-approved liberty. Paul adds a warning not to violate one’s conscience in using these liberties: “But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin” (v. 23). His exhortation and warning about one’s conscience and God-allowed liberties agrees with his earlier statement, “Let each be fully convinced in his own mind” (Romans 14:5). Today’s passage is not at all suggesting that every person decides for himself what is sin, and what is not. God sets that standard, and when we violate it, we sin (John 17:17; 1 John 3:4; Romans 3:23). Before we engage in an activity, we must be sure from Scripture that it has God’s approval (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). In matters of liberty (a God-allowed, but not compulsory, action), our conscience must be clear. We must not violate our conscience in these liberties, nor force our conscience upon others (Romans 14:13-16).
24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 24–25, NASB95)
Since God is able to “keep” (preserve) you stumbling, the possibility of stumbling necessarily exists (cf. Gal. 5:7). He will stand you blameless before Him, when you build up yourselves in the faith, pray in the Spirit, and keep (preserve) yourselves in the love of God (Jude 20-21). Eternal life, while provided by the power and authority of “the only God our Savior,” is not unconditional. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mk. 16:16); Belief and baptism are conditions that one must meet in order to be saved. “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 1:10-11). Note the word “if” – “if you do these things…” That’s a condition the Christian must meet in order to have confidence of gaining entrance into the eternal kingdom. God has the “dominion and authority” to save you. He calls on you to be loyal to Him by remaining steadfast and faithful.
A wise man fears and departs from evil, but a fool rages and is self-confident. (Proverbs 14:16, NKJV)
Confidence is an admirable trait when it is governed by God’s truth, by godly fear and by an aversion to evil. But, remove the restraints of humility and caution toward sin, and self-confidence becomes one’s undoing. The rage that characterizes a fool describes acting arrogantly in defiance of truth and wisdom. It is foolish to become comfortable with error and self-confident toward sin. Self-confidence conditions the heart to place more trust in oneself than in God and His truth. Wisdom teaches us to fear sin and its effects in our lives and the lives of others. We must “abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thess. 5:22). It is utterly foolish to resist God and His will; such self-confidence leads to eternal ruin (2 Thess. 1:8-9).
1 Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? … 5 “He who does not put out his money at usury, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.” (Psalm 15:1, 5, NKJV)
A summary assurance is given at the conclusion of this psalm. It is true that not everyone will abide with God. Those who love the world will not (1 Jno. 2:15-17). Those who complain against His word will not (Jno. 6:60-66). Those who prefer the “cards, riches and pleasures of this life” rather than the word of God will not (Lk. 8:14). However, the sweet psalmist is convinced the person who does the things advised in this psalm will never be moved away from God’s constant provisions and abiding care. Because his character and conduct is true, the Lord God will be his Sustainer as he abides in His tent, his Protector as he dwells in God’s holy fortress. The one who does evil has no such pledge; His every bulwark shall fail. But, the righteous “boldly say: The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Heb. 13:6). The choice is yours today and every day. You may abide in God’s blessed fellowship by faithfully doing His will (Jas. 1:21-25).
14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. (1 John 5:14-15)
Prayer is a great spiritual blessing given to Christians in Christ. Prayer is an action of bold, confident faith in our heavenly Father. He promises to give attention to prayers that are asked “according to His will” (v. 14). You see, prayer is not a selfish endeavor, it is the expression of faith in the Father’s will. This is all the more reason not to be “unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is”, so that we may pray in faith and not doubt (Eph. 5:17; Jas. 1:5). When a Christian prays like Jesus did in the garden (“your will be done”), his or her petition is answered in full measure by the Lord. Remember, prayer is about trusting that God knows better than we do what is best for us. So, whether His specific answer is “yes”, “no” or “not yet”, receive God’s answer with humble thanksgiving. He has heard you and answered you according to His will.