Just because we can; doesn’t mean we should!

Sunday’s Scripture – January 17, 2021

1 Corinthians 6:12-20

Reflection

In 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, Paul addresses some issues within the Corinthian Church. Apparently, there were those among the Christians in Corinth who thought that living under grace, instead of the law, meant they had license to pursue any and all manner of fleshly desires. To them, Paul writes, “‘All things are lawful for me,’ but not all things are beneficial. ‘All things are lawful for me,’ but I will not be dominated by anything.” (1 Cor. 6:12)

You can tell by the quotation marks in this verse that there were some in the Corinthian Church claiming “all things are lawful for me!” and using it permissively, to live in sin.

But Paul’s point is clear. While license feels like freedom at first, it isn’t beneficial. Eventually, it dominate us. In other words: just because we can; doesn’t mean we should!

Paul’s argument illustrates Aristotle’s Doctrine of the Mean, which is the idea that any good is the balance, mean, or proper proportion between two opposing extremes. At each extreme is a vice to be avoided; but at the mean, is virtue.

In this instance, license is one vice, which we’ve established leaves us enslaved to our desires. But, at the other extreme is legalism, where we become enslaved by the rules. No doubt there were those in the Corinthian Church who reacted to the license of their fellow Christians by overcompensating with legalism.

But, situated perfectly in between license on the one extreme and legalism on the other is a virtue: liberty.

In our flesh, we either choose license or legalism. But, the Spirit of God empowers us to live in true liberty.

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Cor 6:19-20)

After all, we have not only been freed from something (sin and death). We have also been freed for something. We are free to obey God, and therefore, glorify God.

 

Questions

  • Are you more prone towards license or legalism?
  • Are there areas of your life where you are living into license or legalism and need to come back to liberty?
  • Have you experienced the liberty of living in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit? What does it feel like and how can you live there more often?

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