Though we have freedom in Christ and some things are not wrong in and of themselves, they may not be beneficial to our relationship with Christ. Further, it may not be beneficial as a witness to other believers. This may sound legalistic, but it’s not. In 1 Corinthians 10:23-24 Paul says, 23 “Everything is permissible” – but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible” – but not everything is constructive. 24 Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. Our freedom should not trample on those around us. Freedom is for the benefit of others as much as ourselves.
We are called to not conform to this world. However, we are also called to become all things to all men in order to bring them into a relationship with Christ. In 1 Corinthians 9:22 Paul says, To the weak I became weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. Paul’s only real concern was bringing people closer to Christ. It did not matter what reason was given as long as they understood God’s love for them and His desire for their eternal salvation. Let us all remember the same thing. God does not call us to perfection in order to be saved, He calls us to salvation so that we can be made perfect in His eyes.
While we have freedom in Christ, we still struggle with sin at times. Some people even struggle with lifelong addiction. And while our freedom in Christ may allow us to be free to do things that cause others to stumble, we should not do it out of love. In 1 Corinthians 8:13 Paul says, Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall. Protecting each other from sin is one of many ways we can love each other. While I may not struggle with a particular sin, I can protect my brothers and sisters by being mindful of how I can protect their hearts as well as mine.
Christ died for us to free us from the bonds of sin. It does not make us perfect, but it is meant to keep us from aimlessly pursuing matters that do not mean anything in the light of eternity. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:23 You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. Once you are free from slavery, the last thing you should want to do is return to those chains. Christ’s freedom is permanent, but it is up to us to accept it and benefit from it.
Because of salvation through Christ’s sacrifice we are free from the burden of the Law. However, while we are free from the constraints of legalism, sin will ultimately hurt you. In 1 Corinthians 6:12 Paul says “Everything is permissible for me” – but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me” – but I will not be mastered by anything. Immorality and addiction are both examples of sin we are forgiven of, but if we choose to allow them into our lives, they will ultimately harm us.
When we let a “little” sin into our lives, it is the same as allowing a lot. In 1 Corinthians 5:6 Paul says, Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? There is no such things as a little sin. Sin is sin and it works its way into who we are. Let us be mindful of what and who we allow into our lives.
Whether we are believers or not, we are all the same. We are flawed human beings in need of mercy and grace. In 1 Corinthians 4:7 Paul reiterates this, For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? Our salvation does not come from our own efforts, but from Christ. We truly have nothing to boast about ourselves. It is because of Christ’s sacrifice and God’s mercy and grace for each of us that we have eternal life.
Without God, the creator of the universe, there is nothing. He is all that matters and we are nothing without Him. In 1 Corinthians 3:7 Pauls says, So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. God chooses to use us to impact His kingdom. But without His active participation nothing happens. We must be thankful for His hand in all things, from the simple to the complex.