I often find myself in Biblical discussions with other Christians who easily become frustrated when they conclude the Bible to be silent on a certain issues. They often walk away curious if a choice or action which Scripture doesn’t specifically address is permissible or sinful. We understand that Christ has given us everything that we need to live a righteous life and to have eternal life. Peter proclaims, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3). But how can we ensure our choices and actions are in accordance with righteous living? What can we do to make sure that we are not participating in behaviors and/or actions the world may accept but might be displeasing to God? It is beneficial for each of us to ask ourselves a few simple questions to aid us in making proper decisions.
THE SCRIPTURAL TEST: Does the Bible endorse it, or does the Word of God expressly forbid it?
THE PURPOSE TEST: Will this choice further my quest to glorify Christ in all things?
THE PERSONAL TEST: Will doing this make me personally more like Jesus or less?
THE SOCIAL TEST: Will doing this influence others to be better or worse Christians?
THE PRACTICAL TEST: Will the results of my doing this be desirable?
THE UNIVERSAL TEST: If everyone were to do this, would it improve or degrade society?
THE STEWARDSHIP TEST: Will my doing this waste the time or talent that God has given me?
THE CHARACTER TEST: What will be the influence of this on my moral and spiritual stamina?
THE FAMILY TEST: Will it bring discredit and dishonor to my family, and will it embarrass them?
THE PUBLICITY TEST: Would I want friends, fellow Christians, and church leaders to know about it?
THE COMMON SENSE TEST: Does it agree with just plain every day, ordinary common sense?
THE FAIRNESS TEST: Is it honest, and is it practicing the golden rule toward each person?
THE HISTORICAL TEST: Has this choice helped or hurt those who have made it in the past?
It is important to remember that just because something doesn’t violate our conscience doesn’t mean it is permissible. The prophet Isaiah stated, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8). I am convinced I will always have questions about Scripture but take refuge in the words of God through Moses, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this Law” (Deuteronomy 29:29). May we all take the time to consider our actions, words, and choices so we may each live life worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ.