A Baptist Distinctive taught in the scripture is that of Individual Soul Liberty. This doctrine instructs us how we should deal with our own temptations, as well as the convictions of others as the Word of God and the Holy Spirit work within us to become holy followers of Jesus. One principle we must understand regarding this teaching is that this doctrine simply teaches us how to deal with temptation to sin, not sin itself. Sin like Biblical truth is NOT relative. What has always been a sin will always be a sin. Since people have differing degrees of sensitivity to temptation, we must learn how to interact with others without causing them to violate their convictions which would cause them to sin. Here are some principles to consider:
1. Regarding convictions, everyone has to decide for themselves their response based upon the scriptures and the Holy Spirit.
Rom. 14:5, 7-11, 12, 16-19
“One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.”
2. We ultimately will have to give an account of our lives to God, not man. His opinion is ultimately the only one that matters because HE is our Lord.
“For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.
For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”
3. We should not place others in situations causing them to violate their convictions because everyone has different propensities to sin.
“Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.”
4. We should never do anything which would hurt our testimonies before the Lost or immature Believers.
“Let not then your good be evil spoken of: For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.“
5. Do all things for the purpose of glorifying God and edifying others. Life is not all about me.
“For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”
LESSON - If we will follow these principles, we will live holy acceptable lives in the eyes of God AND man.