Psalm 126-128 1 Corinthians 10:19-33
“’We are allowed to do all things,’ but not all things are good for us to do. ‘We are allowed to do all things,’ but not all things help others grow stronger. Do not look out only for yourselves. Look out for the good of others also.” (1 Corinthians 10:23-24 NCV)
In this section, Paul dealt with the issue of eating meat offered to idols again. Paul laid it out on the line by noting that food offered to idols was the same as offering it to demons. Then, he dealt with the arrogance of those who seemed to think that because God forgave them, and because they live by grace, they could do anything they wanted to as Christians. There are filters for our behavior as Christians, or at least there should be. If God allows us to do all things, shouldn’t we check to make sure that the things we want to do as Christians are good for us and help others grow stronger? The problem, according to Paul, is that Christianity isn’t about pleasing ourselves; our job as Christians is to help others grown in their relationship with Christ.
There are some who teach that because we’re under grace, we don’t have any filters. I understand the desire to avoid the life-crippling effects of a religion that keeps people in constant fear that maybe we’ll do something that will upset God and He’ll zap us out of existence. The fact that God will forgive us when we do the kinds of things that would separate us from His presence is great news, but it doesn’t excuse a lifestyle of sin and rebellion. If we live to please ourselves, then we can excuse a lot of actions that God would not approve. Cheating, stealing, lying, even murder might be justified if we claim that we’re living that way because we’re allowed to do all things – or that everything is lawful. The key to understanding grace is that not only don’t we live in fear of God, we have the spiritual strength to do the right thing that will draw us closer to God and help others grow stronger in their faith. The grace of God is a two-way street: not only do we receive God’s grace, we’re called to pass it out to others so that they too might experience God’s grace in all of its glory.
Lord, keep me living in Your grace. Let me do those things that are good for me and will help others grow stronger.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved