September 13, 2016
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 13 September 2016
According to Ephesians 2, verses 8 and 9, Christians are saved by the grace of God, not by works of righteousness. Therefore, when considering that salvation is received by God’s grace through faith, Christians are liberated to do whatever they please. Indeed, the church theologian Augustine once remarked, “love God and do whatever you please, for the soul trained in love to God will do nothing to offend the One who is Beloved [i.e. God Himself].”
“All things are lawful for me,” the Bible reads in 1 Corinthians 6 (v. 12). Obviously, the Bible is not justifying a variety of illegitimate activities; rather, the assertion that “all things are lawful for me” means the follower of God has been granted freedom from the inconsequential legalism of the world. Spirituality is not to be confused with extensive lists of rules that regulate every aspect of a Christian’s life; rather, believers have liberty of conscience.
God has entrusted the believer with tremendous responsibilities, and thus He can assist his people with both negligible and primary decisions today. Whatever liberties a believer has, choices must be carefully evaluated in regards to their spiritual benefit. The primary issue is not whether someone is lawful for a Christian; rather, the more fundamental consideration is whether something is beneficial (expedient) in terms of the will and purpose of God.
Many decisions resulting in practices that may be lawful for a Christian will have detrimental effects, which is a consideration that must be made in all life situations wherein a believer contemplates a particular course of action or decision. The reason is that Christians abide under a higher law: the law of love and of seeking to honor and please their Savior and Lord (Matt 22:36-40). Therefore, when a question arises as to whether a certain action is right or wrong, the decision should be based upon how the action impacts the cause of Christ. Does it help or hinder in advancing the will and purpose of God? Does it honor the Lord and his Word, or bring reproach against biblical truth?
For example, the Apostle Paul concluded that he could not afford to “be mastered” by any practice that might limit the power of God over his actions and decisions. In a similar passage (only a few chapters later), Paul stated, All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable [expedient]. All things are lawful, but not all things edify (10:23). Therefore, nothing is expedient (beneficial) for the Christian that does not spiritually edify oneself or someone else.
In a similar manner, the Bible says “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). The test of expediency, therefore, if applied genuinely by the believer in terms of advancing or hindering the purposes of God in Christ Jesus, can be of tremendous assistance in decision-making regarding challenging issues.
Your Capitol Missionary-Pastor,
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia
Capitol Commission is prepared to encourage and enable local churches to participate in reaching our capitol communities for Christ (1 Tim 2:1-4). We only need to hear from you, if you have not already contacted us. We also seek to enlist individuals, businesses, and churches to become strategic partners with us in this ministry (2 Cor 8:3-6). Our success as a ministry is based upon God blessing all facets of the ministry, which certainly includes partners in this ministry. We earnestly desire to engage those who desire to participate in the ministry by offering their time and talents (Matt 25:20). If you have not already done so, join us and experience the joy of bringing hope, light, transformation, and truth to those who constitute our capitol communities.