As long as you rely on your own knowledge of what is right and wrong, you will never be able to pull yourself outside of sin. Sin is much more inclusive than simply what harms another person.
(v23) But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.
If it is not from faith, it is sin. As a reminder, what is faith: Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” God is the one who grows faith in you, just as He is the one who allows conviction.
Well how do you do something out of faith? How do you walk by faith, act in faith?
We live to the Lord, we die to the Lord; whether we live or we die, we belong to the Lord.
Faith is about the end goal of our actions; the objective of our motives. Why does it matter what we eat, whether we drink alcohol, or listen to certain music; what affect do our clothes, or appearance, or hobbies have on our holiness? These are small issues, inconsequential in the big picture. Nothing more than cultural tidbits which place us into one category or another.
But in truth, they have everything to do with our holiness. There is no small thing to God. When he died for all of you, he died for the whole of you; every crevice and dark corner.
2 Cor 10:5 “Take every thought captive to obey Christ”
If he is concerned with every thought and action, so should you.
(v12) each of us will give an account of himself to God.
Our arguments are not the final judgment on any issue, we will answer to God: for what we did, for what we did not do, and for what we led others to do.
The end goal of this lesson was to encourage you to not cause your brother or sister to stumble. But we cannot do that until the desire for personal holiness is clear and real in our own minds. Honestly, what am I going to care about someone else’s walk with God when my own is not where it needs to be. And Paul sees this so clearly, that’s why he spends so much time explaining: this is wisdom, this is conviction, this is faith; but most of all don’t be judgmental.
He repeats it multiple times: without passing judgment, must not condemn, why do you look down, stop passing judgment…
And so on.
It must be your own personal motive and goal to glorify God in your decisions. Or else every argument you have on disputable matters will be purely about your own opinions and not about how one should “act in love.”