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All Things Are Lawful

John Collins01/17/2013While cult leaders and false prophets lay foundations of rules from which we should live our lives by, Paul in 1 Corinthians 6 gives a much different point of view.  The difference?  Paul's instruction came from the Holy Spirit, while the false teacher's doctrine comes from his own opinion or preference.

Cult leaders that teach separation typically impose rules to make a following outwardly appear separate from the rest of the Body of Christ.  Not only does this create a physical barrier around the people, it also creates a spiritual barrier that is an attempt to sever the people from the rest of the Body.  

These rules may include wardrobes from days gone by, forbidden sports or entertainment, or other changes in lifestyle that has no relevance to a Christian's walk with God.  Many times the new "laws" will include separation from communications with the world outside, such as television, radio, or even phones, and holds innocent people captive by motivating them to believe all who partake in these "forbidden sins" are motivated by evil spirits.

1 Corinthians 6:12 paints the completely opposite picture:  "ALL things are lawful for me."  

Paul is very clear in his message to the Body of Christ.  While the way of life we have today is quite different than Paul's time, the same personality types of today existed back then.  Teachers who grew up under the Old Covenant of Law had to adjust to the New Covenant of Grace, and rules given to the Children of Israel under the Law were engrained in the minds of the people.  

The most common rule from the Mosaic Law that Paul discusses in his letters is the eating of different types of food.  Under the Mosaic Law, food used for sacrifice to idols, or "unclean food" was forbidden.  Yet Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 6:13 that "Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food -- and God will destroy both one and the other!"  

Paul teaches a way of life that is filled with balance.  All things are lawful, however not all things are helpful.  Other scriptures speak against those not only forbidding food, but forbidding drink.  Yet to be a drunkard is a sin.  1 Corinthians 6 lets us know that it is not against God's plan for us to eat, yet gluttony is a sin.  

While under the New Covenant of Grace, all things are lawful, and we are freely forgiven for anything sinful in our lives -- but why would we want to roll around in that sin?  For this reason, Paul says that not all things are helpful.  

Our bodies are not just temples for the Lord, our bodies are members of the Body of Christ that stretches far and wide.  While cult leaders teach separation from the other members of that Body, Paul teaches union and strength.  If we excessively consume ourselves with something, though it may now be lawful, we actually do harm to the rest of the Body.  

Paul gives example of one sin, however, that is more harmful to the Body: sexual immorality.  Prostitution was common back in the days of Paul, and easily accessible in the temples of pagan worship.  Though the Blood of Christ still covers this sin, Paul says that this sin is more damaging to the Body of Christ because this sin is committed inside the Body.  All other sins, according to Paul, are committed outside the Body.

Paul compares our bodies to the temples in the days of old, holy places of worship where no unclean thing may enter.  While all other sins are created outside of our 'temples,' Paul says that with the case of sexual immorality, we are bringing our sin inside of our temple.  

As a man and wife are joined together by the flesh, we are joined together with God by the Holy Spirit.  To commit adultery, joining our flesh to someone outside of the Body of Christ, is to bring an unholy thing into our temple.  

Instead, Paul says, we should glorify God in our body.

As Christians, we should ask ourselves:  Are we motivated to live "holy lives" because of a set of rules, or because we think our forbidden things are unlawful?  Have we not read the scripture saying that "All things are lawful?"  While we preach against those who take a "social drink," people who may not even drink to intoxication, are we guilty of the sin of gluttony -- overeating?  Are we guilty of condemning others for things that are lawful?