BALANCING THE TRUTH
I Corinthians 6:12 – “All things are lawful unto me (refers to the fact that Christianity is not a religion which consists of rules, etc.), but all things are not expedient (not profitable): all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any (Grace does not give a license to sin, but rather liberty to live a Holy Life).”
The Church At Corinth
The spiritual condition of the church at Corinth was appalling. Sin seemed to be an active and dominant theme within the Body of Christ there. Paul’s teachings had been misrepresented by false teachers and the problems abounded. There were schisms and divisions. There was carnality and license that abounded. Paul did his best to bring this wavering, struggling church back to the basics of the Gospel. Those basics surrounded the simple truths of Christ and Him Crucified. By this statement I mean that the Person of Christ and His Redemptive Work for all of mankind was to be studied, appropriated, experienced, and exhibited. If this teaching of the Cross was ignored or lost, the end result was what you see on record regarding the Church at Corinth. Yes, there were many Spiritual Gifts in Operation, but the Character of Christ was not being formed in the people as it ought to be, because the wrong message was being preached. Paul writes his Epistle with the sure knowledge that if this First Century church fails to correct its course, many in the church will lose their souls and the effectiveness of the church upon the region will be destroyed.
A False Message Of Grace
Everything God does for humanity surrounds the concepts of Faith and Grace. Faith must be placed in Christ and His Finished Work and, in response, God extends Grace to the believing sinner or Saint. What is true at Salvation regarding the reception of Grace remains true for the Saint who must have God’s Help to live a Holy and Righteous Christian life. Romans 5:2 says, “. . . we have access by Faith into this Grace wherein we stand. . . .” We must experience every aspect of God’s Grace in order to experience every aspect of our Christian life. The problem at Corinth was that some were abusing the Grace of God and misconstruing its purpose. Grace is not the freedom to sin all we want! Grace represents the power by which we are freed from the penalty and power of the sin that confronts all of us while living in this present world. Thank God for His Word that proclaims in Romans 5:20 that “. . . where sin abounded, Grace did much more abound.” Therefore, Grace, not law, is the means to overcoming the problem of sin. This is a dynamic truth. No measure of man’s labor, work, righteous routine, or sciences falsely so-called can free men from the penalty for sin or the power of the sinful nature. No “Law” can provide men with forgiveness from acts of sin and freedom from the power of the sin nature. Only Grace can provide this freedom. Therefore, I am not under the spiritual principles of law (speaks of trusting in one’s own efforts to extricate oneself from sin) but am under the Spiritual Principles of Grace. Grace is received when my Faith rests upon Christ, His Person, and His Work. The true message of Grace is not a message that brings freedom to sin, but it is a message that supplies the Believer with power not to sin.
The Believer Is Not Under Law
Some in Corinth were following every dictates of the flesh, every natural appetite, from food to sex, and were stating that since they were not under law. God’s Grace covered every licentious act they felt compelled to carry out. Let’s be honest. There are times as a Christian that we can desire things in our flesh that the Spiritual man knows is not pleasing to God! To use Justification by Faith as an excuse to justify ungodly action is wrong. So while the Believer in Grace is not bound by the Spiritual Principles of being under law, he or she is responsible for following the moral code installed into the human heart at regeneration! The Promise regarding the new Covenant plainly tells us that this is God’s Plan. Jeremiah 31:33 – “But this shall be the Covenant that I will make with the House of Israel; After those days, says the LORD, I will put My Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My People).” Since we are no longer bound to holiness through the Law, we are not under Law. Where there is no Law there can be no charges filed against us. Romans 4:15 says, “. . . for where no Law is, there is no transgression.” Now that I am freed from righteousness through Law or works and all sin past, present, and future is paid for, what creates the standards of right and wrong for me? The indwelling presence of the Spirit in every Believer defines right and wrong for me. I John 2:27 – “But the Anointing which you have received of Him abides in you, and you need not that any man teach you: but as the same Anointing teaches you of all things, and is Truth, and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, you shall abide in Him.” Therefore, my first task is to decide whether or not something is expedient.
“Not All Things Are Expedient”
The term “expedient” literally indicates something that is helpful, profitable, or edifying. As a Believer I must evaluate every action and attitude, every thought and deed, every relationship and all fellowship, and put them through a simple test. Is what I am doing or participating in building me Spiritually or not? If I see that it is not then I choose to voluntarily remove it from my life. When a Believer truly loves God with all of his or her heart, mind, body, soul, and spirit then we should want to please Him more than we want to please ourselves. I want nothing to adversely affect a healthy and profitable relationship with God. Therefore, I willingly choose to lay down any aspect of my life that I sense is not pleasing to Him. I do so through the processes of Faith and Grace. Faith in the Cross brings the Grace that I need to lay down certain areas of my life, so that I may experience the Abundant Life that Christ Promised.