Summary: Understanding Christian Liberty
Understanding Christian Liberty
Rev. Hank F. Griffin
Paul, in his first letter to the church at Corinth deals with a lot of issues that we as believers still deal with today. He addresses the topics f division among the church (1:10), the congregation being infants in Christ rather than spiritual men (3:1-), the ministry of a servant of Christ (4), sexual immorality (5), and so on and so forth. Paul is writing to a group of believers that are in the city of Corinth. This letter is written probably around the year of A.D. 55 in Ephesus, during Paul’s third missionary trip (MacArthur Study Bible)
-Paul addresses the question on how does a believer determine what God thinks on something when the Bible doesn’t address a particular subject?
-Things that are lawful for a believer, are not always profitable. Paul addresses this issue in depth from chapter 8 through chapter 10.
Galatians 5:1 (NASB)
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
We’ll get an introduction into this topic on understanding Christian liberty. Although there is much to be covered on this topic, we will look at the two reasons why something that isn’t covered in scripture is good or bad.
Paul gives an illustration of eating food offered to idols in chapter 8.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NASB)
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25 Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; 27 but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
-we as believers have liberty in Christ, but we have to exercise self control. We can’t allow our bodies to do what they want and sin. The result of not being self controlled is disqualification from the ministry. You loose your usefulness, not your salvation.
-Not all people are in the same spiritual condition. Some are weaker, while others are stronger in the Lord. As believers we must be on guard in every moment. We must be ready and watch for sin that comes up in our life, maybe without us even knowing.
1 Corinthians 8:1-13 (NASB)
Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies. 2 If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know; 3 but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him. 4 Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one. 5 For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.7 However not all men have this knowledge; but some, being accustomed to the idol until now, eat food as if it were sacrificed to an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. 8 But food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat. 9 But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if someone sees you, who have knowledge, dining in an idol’s temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be strengthened to eat things sacrificed to idols? 11 For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died. 12 And so, by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble.
I. Effect(s) on others.
A. Neither better or worse.
1 Corinthians 8:8-9 (NASB)
But food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat. 9 But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak
The issue is not weather or not the eating of this food is going to bring us closer to God. The act of eating this food is not good or bad; the problem comes in with the effects of doing this act.