August 14, 2015
I Corinthians 6:12; 10:23
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
We are looking at Biblical guidelines to help us navigate through the Gray Areas of life – those areas in which the Bible doe not give clear and specific direction. Again, the definition: A Gray Area is “…an ill-defined situation or field not readily conforming to a category or to an existing set of rules….ambiguous, unclear, uncertain, doubtful, indefinite, indistinct, indeterminate, debatable, open to question.”
And the scriptures we are considering that lend a good deal of help in navigating Gray Areas are I Corinthians 6:12 and 10:23:
All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are
lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any….All things
are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful; all things are lawful for
me, but all things do not edify.
We saw in the first of two blogs that the Apostle Paul wrote, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful.” And he emphasized this first restriction twice, in both of the Corinthian verses above, which means we ought to give our full attention to what is being twice-repeated here! As pointed out previously, Helpful means “to bear together or conduce to the advantage of all.” (Strong’s). So whatever is not helpful – whatever is not to the advantage of all, so that together we may bear up under whatever trial we are facing – Do not do or say what you might be considering!
The second restriction is from I Corinthians 6:12: “All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” We saw that this applies to everything that would ‘take over’ your life – from addictions to too much focus on one aspect of life – like work, sports or hobbies – to the detriment of other important aspects – faith and family, for instance.
Let’s go on to the third restriction, found in I Corinthians 10:23:
• “…all things are lawful for me, but all things do not edify.” In the Greek this is two words, and means literally, to be a house builder. And, of course, Paul is using this term in a negative sense, so it is not to be a house builder.
I Peter 2:5 helps us flesh out what Paul is saying: “…you also, as living stones, are being built up [into] a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” We are each one of us living stones – building blocks – with Jesus Christ being the “…chief cornerstone, elect, precious…” (I Peter 2:6 – see also Isaiah 28:16; Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17). God is building a dwelling place with and through us! Yes, He dwells by His Holy Spirit in each one of us (see John 14:17; Romans 8:9-11; Ephesians 1:13, 14), but God is further making us collectively into a habitation for Himself. Here is what Paul wrote to the Gentile believers in Ephesus concerning the subject – Ephesians 2:19 through 22:
…you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the
saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the
foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the
chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being joined together,
grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built
together for a habitation of God in the Spirit.
So if we are being built together as a dwelling place for God, then what we do or say must be examined and restricted by whether of not it edifies – builds up – others as well as ourselves!
Keep in mind the Greek word for edify is a house builder. So we are either building up the corporate house of God, or we are tearing it down by our every word or action! I think you can see that this restriction is important: “…all things are lawful for me, but all things do not edify.” Does it edify – build up – others as well as ourselves, or does it not? Remember, we are building this house for the Lord!