MANDATORY ESSENTIALS and OPTIONAL NONESSENTIALS
In 1Corinthians, St Paul’s guiding principles for Christian morality, charity, liberty and unity are derived from COMMANDS (7:10) CONCESSIONS (7:6) COUNSELS (7:12).
COMMANDS require UNITY and conformation,
CONCESSIONS require LIBERTY and consideration, and
COUNSELS require CHARITY and consecration.
“In essentials (commands) unity, in nonessentials (concessions) liberty, in all things (counsels) charity.”
Essentials (Commands) and Nonessentials (Concessions) should be determined by what the Bible reveals or says is mandatory (commands) or optional (concessions). For Christians, these cannot and should not be determined arbitrarily.
Thank God for almost uniform consensus derived from the Scriptures and summarised in the Nicene Creed as essentials for the Christian Faith and eternal salvation.
Whatsoever the Bible presents as absolutes and mandatory should be taken as “essentials” (commands). For instance in paraphrase “Thou shall not commit adultery/fornication” or “No one comes to the father except by Christ”.
Whatsoever the Bible presents as alternatives or optional should be taken as “nonessentials” (concessions). For instance in paraphrase: “Thou may or may not marry as the situations demand” or “Circumcision or uncircumcision does not enhance or diminish our standing with God”.
Counsel applied in consecration to the Lord and charity to others are needed for sound and safe discretion in nonessentials and uncertain matters.