NKJV - 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.
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The answer is profoundly simple. Any thing done to violate the faith-principle by which one is saved, and by which he lives (Rom. 1:17; Heb. 10:38), is sin. One must know beyond all doubt or hesitation in his mind that what he allows is in perfect accord with the Word of God before he acts.
In this passage, Paul was emphasizing the importance of Christians not causing fellow believers whose faith might not be as strong as theirs, or who might not be aware of the freedom that Christ had given them from former practices of the Mosaic Law, to go against their own conscience. Even though the dietary restrictions contained in the Law that God gave to Israel through Moses no longer applied to believers in Christ, there were still some Christians who had been raised to follow those restrictions, and who continued to observe them as a matter of conscience. Even though observance of those restrictions had no bearing on their salvation now that they were Christians, if they were to disobey them, their conscience would convict them of having done something wrong, of having committed sin, or of having violated their faith. Paul was saying that, in deference to such people, even if mature Christians knew that, on the basis of their faith in Christ, they were no longer bound by these restrictions and could eat anything they pleased, they might by doing so cause weaker or less mature fellow believers to eat something, while at the same time doubting whether they were allowed to eat it or not. This would make that weaker Christian believe that he was committing sin, even if, in the perception of the more mature believer, no sin was involved. The important thing for a Christian was/is not to condemn or look down on a fellow believer for following the dictates of his own conscience, or to compel that fellow believer to violate his own conscience in the name of Christian freedom.
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