Summary: Exposition of 1 Cor 6:12-14 regarding Christian liberty and purpose of the body.
Text: 1 Cor 6:12-14, Title: OK to Have a Beer? Date/Place:
A. Opening illustration: tell about people offering me alcohol, cussing, and drinking with the preacher in ME
B. Background to passage: not really all that sure about how this flows into the context of the entire letter, except that Paul just brought up sexual sin, and now he wanted to confront another wrong view of the Christian life in Corinth, just as he had done with the “untransformed believer” theology of the last passage. There were obviously those in the church who felt that because they were justified and fully forgiven they could do whatever. It was a very antinomian view. So in a sexually charged city and culture, and with the Greek dualism between the material and spiritual, the Corinthians would quip, “we are saved and secure, all sin past present and future, therefore it doesn’t really matter what we do, so let’s eat, drink, and be merry.”
C. Main thought: so from this text, we will see two things that shape our behavior with matters of sin/liberty
A. Wisdom on lawful things (v. 12)
1. This was a slogan that was going around the church, “all things are lawful for me,” rather than Paul’s own personal testimony. This was a way to justify sexual sin in particular, but probably many other immoral, sinful activities. Probably, looking at the verses that follow, some Christian men in the church were using the services of prostitutes and arguing for the liberty to do so. Explore it theologically: are all sins (past, present, future) already forgiven if we are in Christ? Will we lose our salvation? Did not God give us things in life to enjoy? They’re paid for, right? Well, Paul gives two pieces of advice. 1) First he says that things may be lawful (not expressly forbidden; although sexual immorality and other explicit prohibitions are already ruled out), christian liberties may not be beneficial, helpful, advantageous. The word here is symphero, which means beneficial toward the group, helpful to accomplishing the goal. He says they may not want to do some things that they could do because of their effects on self, others, the kingdom. 2) He also advises them that although all things may be lawful, he/they should not be brought under the authority of any of them. He would not let himself, who had been freed from sin and self, be ruled by, controlled or mastered by anything else—he has but one Master. The word carries the connotation of having something or someone else determine your conduct for you. Paul knew that some permissible things cause addiction or neglect of weightier things.
2. 1 Cor 10:23, 31, Rom 14:14, 2 Sam 12:14, Rom 6:14, 1 Thess 4:3-5,
3. Illustration: alcohol, tattoos, gambling, soap operas, magazines, video games, cigarettes, Facebook, sports, “My liberty as a Christian should always be supremely shackled by the love I am commanded to have towards another.” “True Christian conduct is not predicated on whether or not I have the right to do something, but whether m conduct is helpful to those about me.”
4. None of the sins of those of us who have been born again will be remembered against us related to our salvation. However we will receive reward or loss based on our actions, 1 Cor 3. But his point is that some things not expressly forbidden are just not helpful. 1) So ask the question: Does this action promote my desire for Christ or does it cool it off? Does it aid others in their growth or does it harm them? Does it draw others’ eyes toward the beauty of Christ or give them cause to blaspheme? Will this act help advance the kingdom or hinder its progress? 2) Is this something that could cause dependence to the point that my other responsibilities to family, church, Christ suffer neglect? Is this an action that will cause me to be susceptible to a expressly forbidden action? Is this an action that cause me to sacrifice freedom or usurp Christ’s authority in my life? Are there behaviors, addictions, habits that you are currently under the mastery of? “I can quit whenever I want.” **Now some people think many of these things are sinful, and they may well be “for them.” Now you know that I am not a relativist, but I am also not a legalist, and some of these things, you will have a difficult time proving express prohibition. Therefore some things that you think are sinful on principle, others may not be convicted of such; and that’s OK. Some things that you feel like you can do, others may not feel liberty to do; and that’s OK. Remember, we are not talking about things that are clearly prohibited. Legalism is easy, liberalism is easy, biblical discernment and tolerance is difficult.