October 20, 2015
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 20 October 2015
Christians are those people who are saved by the grace of God – through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ – not by works of righteousness. Therefore, in one sense, the believer in Jesus is able to do whatever he or she pleases. For instance, Scripture reads, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Cor 6:12). The Christian is, nevertheless, obliged to a greater law, which is the law of Christ, and which is fulfilled by seeking to honor and please one’s Lord and Savior, and by loving one’s neighbor as we (already) love ourselves (Matt 12:28-33).
Consequently, when a question arises as to whether a certain action is right or wrong, the decision must be based upon how one’s deeds will impact the cause of Christ Jesus. Does our action help or hinder the biblical emphasis upon loving God and loving others? Do our deeds honor the Lord God and his holy Word, or do they result in reproach against divine truth? For example, the Apostle Paul concluded that he would “not be mastered by anything,” which might limit the power of God in his actions and decisions.
In a similar passage, the Apostle confessed, “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify” (1 Cor 10:23). The reality of spiritual birth is evident in spiritual maturity as we become more like Christ Jesus. Consequently, nothing is profitable for the Christian, if it does not edify (i.e. “build up” or multiply) oneself spiritually or someone else.
Scripture refers to the principle “that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. . . . Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil. . . . So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another” (Rom 14:14, 16, 19). If we are maturing by faith in Christ Jesus, we will know how to live and speak the truth of God’s Word in love. By contrast, Satan is a liar and murderer, and thus has tremendous difficulty being successful when Christians practice truth and love (cf. Eph 4:1-16).
If applied consistently and genuinely by the believer, in terms of either advancing or hindering the purposes of God in truth, the test of profitableness (or expediency) can be a tremendous help in making decisions regarding doubtful issues. The Christian is not so much concerned whether an action is lawful but rather is it profitable. God created the human body, He dwells within believers by the Holy Spirit, and the Lord purchased the believer by Christ’s work on our behalf. For that reason, the believer’s body belongs to God and must be used to glorify Him (1 Cor 6:18-20).
By God's Grace and for His Glory,
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia