Pastor’s Pen: It’s my right
Associate Pastor of Youth
Calvary Baptist Church, Evart
I have visited several guys in jail. Typically they are the same ones each time. It’s not that they were there for years and years, but that they do things that put them back in jail once again. Their mindset says, “I’m free! Now I can do whatever I want.” But we all know that is not reality. In reality there are laws that protect others from harm. Breaking those laws will send one right back to jail.
The Corinthians had that same mindset. They knew they were “free in Christ” (Galatians 5:1) and no longer under the law (Romans 6:14) and they lived in a culture where freedom to do as you pleased was highly regarded, much like our own. The Corinthians even had a statement, “Everything is permissible for me” (1 Corinthians 6:12, 10:23). They used that to allow themselves to be involved in sexual sin and idolatry
Many times we do the same thing. We see a verse like, “Everything is permissible for me” and take it to mean that, as a Christian, I am now free to do whatever I want. In reality, the verse quoted bad Corinthian theology. Paul states it and then refutes it with four opposing statements, one being a repeat.
Paul said everything isn’t permissible for me because: 1) “Not everything is beneficial.” 2) “I will not be mastered by anything.” 3) “Not everything is beneficial.” 4) “Not everything is constructive.”
Paul then adds two other statements. One in 1 Corinthians 6:13, “The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.” He’s saying that everything I do with my body should honor God. And in 1 Corinthians 10:24 he adds, “Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.”
Those two statements seem very familiar. Remember what Christ said the greatest commandment and the second were? “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind … love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
I think Paul and Christ are saying that if you and I spend more time focused on pleasing God and seeking the good of others then our own rights wouldn’t seem so important and our lives would fulfill the purpose for which God intended them. Are you focused on your rights or on honoring God?