Saturday, March 05, 2005

All Things Are Permissible

In recent discussions, some have mentioned 1 Cor 6:12-13 as a scripture they turn to when thinking about our liberty as Christians. I'd like to exhort all of us to take a close look at this passage to see what Paul's saying.

1 Cor 6:12-13
'All things are lawful for me,' but not all things are helpful. 'All things are lawful for me,' but I will not be enslaved by anything. 'Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food'--and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.

This is often interpreted in the modern church to mean that truly, ALL THINGS, no matter what is referenced, are lawful for the Christian. Proponents of this teaching usually attempt to back it up by saying that since Jesus died for us, there is no law for the Christian, only grace.

I contend, however, that the "all things" means things that are not sinful. Otherwise, this scripture is a license to sin, and we know this cannot be. The New Testament makes it clear time and again that lawlessness is condemned specifically in the New Covenant (Matt 7:23, 13:41, Rom 6:19, 2 Cor 6:14, etc) and is used to describe those who are disobedient to the Word and will of God. Though we are cleansed from sin through the blood of Christ, we must abide in Him (John 15), and we may not live in habitual, unrepentant sin (Heb 10:28-30).

As with any exposition of scripture, it's important to check out the context. Paul just finished warning the Corinthians about sins that lead to death, after chastising them for suing one another before unbelievers:

1 Cor 6:8-11
But you yourselves wrong and defraud--even your own brothers!

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

And such were some of us! Thank the Lord for His blood!

Allow me to share A.T. Robertson's commentary on and exposition of the Greek in this passage. A.T. Robertson was one of the foremost Greek scholars of the last century.

"Lawful (exestin). Apparently this proverb may have been used by Paul in Corinth (repeated in Matthew 10:23), but not in the sense now used by Paul's opponents. The "all things" do not include such matters as those condemned in chapter 1 Corinthians 5; 1 Corinthians 6:1-11. Paul limits the proverb to things not immoral, things not wrong per se. But even here liberty is not license. But not all things are expedient (all ou panta sumperei). Old word sumperei, bears together for good and so worthwhile. Many things, harmless in themselves in the abstract, do harm to others in the concrete. We live in a world of social relations that circumscribe personal rights and liberties. But I will not be brought under the power of any (all ouk egw exousiasqhsomai upo tinoƟ). Perhaps a conscious play on the verb exestin for exousiazw is from exousia and that from exestin. Verb from Aristotle on, though not common (Dion. of Hal., LXX and inscriptions). In N.T. only here, 1 Corinthians 7:4; Luke 22:25. Paul is determined not to be a slave to anything harmless in itself. He will maintain his self-control. He gives a wholesome hint to those who talk so much about personal liberty."

Note what he says: the "all things" does not include things that are displeasing to God--more specifically, that transgress His law. Paul is actually warning those who participate in sexual immorality, not telling them they have a license to do so because "all things are permissible". This is a gross error in the teaching of the modern church.

1 Cor 6:13-20
'Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food'--and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, "The two will become one flesh." But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

This is not written to discourage anyone. I hope that seeing the truth of what the Word is saying is edifying and encouraging, as it is for me! How wonderful that we serve a Lord who warns and reproves us--a loving Father who desires the best for us!


Rachel said...

I see that verse as saying something like this (here's Rachel's Amplified Version, created just for this post ;-):

Yeah, OK, nothing we do can condemn us to hell, because of Jesus' sacrifice ("all things are lawful"). But that doesn't mean that it's good or OK for us to commit sins, because there are better things for us to do with our time and resources, and sinning takes us further from God instead of closer to Him. ("all things are not useful.")

This goes hand in hand with a verse that is key to the Christian life, Romans 6:15:

"What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!

This is so important. We mustn't let ourselves live in bondage to legalism, but it would be worse to be bound to lawlessness, or to ignore the vast quantity of verses in Scripture that encourage us to live in obedience to God.

Rachel said...

just wanted to add, because it wasn't very clear in my post above, that I don't disagree with Kristen, but am just adding my thoughts to the discussion. :)

Kristen said...

Legalism is adding to what God's Word says. Legalism is saying that I have to wear a certain type of dress to be saved, or that one has to be circumcised to be saved. Certainly, that is something to stay FAR from. But too often, legalism is the charge brought against people who are simply pointing out what God is telling believers to do or not to do. That is not legalism, it's obedience (not saying YOU don't know the difference, Rachel...I'm just clarifying).

I don't agree with your paraphrase, because I don't believe that nothing we do can condemn us to Hell. I believe, as did the early church and the apostles, in the possibility of apostasy. THAT is a topic too big for the comments section, but suffice it to say that I do believe you can choose to walk away from God and trample the blood of Christ (Heb 10). A person who does that is no longer a part of the body, but unless they repent, has an expectation of fiery judgment. In Revelation 3:15-16, Jesus tells the CHURCH at Laodicea, "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm–-neither hot nor cold–-I am about to spit you out of my mouth." If He spits them out, they are no longer a part of His body, by implication. We are urged to consider the kindness and sternness of God in Rom 11, "sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness."

That's a huge topic, but one that needs to be addressed. :) I love how you point out the wealth of verses in the Bible that urge obedience--truly, there are many, and it's central to having any understanding of life in Christ Jesus.

pregador27 said...

Rachel & Kristen,
I think I agree more with Rachel if I am reading her right, but in many ways agree with both of you about Paul's meaning in this instance.

I "reformed", so I differ with Kristen in that respect. But, even so, I usually find myself on the same, if not a similar, page as she. (Is that poor grammar?)

And if it sounds like I'm straddling the fence on this one, I really am not. I think we all agree on more than we disagree on in this case. Rock on!

Rachel said...

Actually, my husband and I have had debates about Hebrews 10 and other sections of scripture like it. I am not entirely sure that it's impossible to walk away from our salvation. When I say that "nothing we do can condemn us to hell", I mean that no action -- no sin or mistake -- can condemn us. I am not entirely convinced (as is T, vehemently might I add, to the point that I as a submissive wife do not feel comfortable bringing up the topic anymore) that our attitude -- that's the closest word I can find -- can't. However, if I bring this up in a Bible study I am ganged up upon like you would not believe (by people with the best possible intentions, I'm sure, but still, ganging up is ganging up), so I don't. However, we're about to be doing Hebrews in chapter summaries on Wednesday nights, if I'm not mistaken, so I'm sure the topic will come up.

Like you said, a topic for a different post, but I agree with you there, if not entirely, at least more than you probably thought I would.

As far as legalism, I see what you mean about that. But I would also say that legalism would mean that we can't relax ever in our salvation, that we have to mind our p's and q's not just so that we don't displease God or drag his name through the dirt, and not because we LOVE Him, but because we fear His wrath.

molly said...

Yeah, it's really important to take in the context of Paul's "all things are lawful" statement. If he was saying "hey, bro's and sister's, ANYTHING goes, then he'd have never bothered to post literal black-and-white LISTS about what a Christian ought never to participate in...

The ol' lists kinda throw the "I'm under grace so I can do whatever I want" argument in the dumpster, I think...

That doesn't always make it black-and-white...there are many issues that are left to our discretion (eating food sacrificed to idol's being one of them, which we are counseled to take in the WHOLE situation before we are choose one way or another--ie, will this be a stumbling block to my brother, etc)...

But whilst we have freedom of decision in many areas, there are some that we just plain DON'T.

I guess the jist of the issue is walking in careful discernment between what the do's and don'ts are, and what are the areas left to our individual Spirit-led choice... And, there again, taking in the WHOLE counsel of God becomes manifestly important. (Example: Never ok to walk around naked in public? Why'd God tell Isaiah to do it then?, etc...)

This rambling is now finished, due to an amazingly smelly young man who just walked up and patted me on the leg, grinning. Fumigator, anyone???

Rachel said...

Molly, excellent point with this:

"But whilst we have freedom of decision in many areas, there are some that we just plain DON'T."

There are areas where we have to use our discernment and areas where God is hard and fast in His word about how our behavior is to be.

Kristen said...

Wow, great comments, ladies...thanks. I totally agree. I like what you said, Rachel, about the idea of "having to mind our p's and q's" and always being afraid that everything's not okay. Great point. It brings to mind two scriptures:

1 John 5:13-15I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us–whatever we ask–we know that we have what we asked of him.


2 Cor 13:5-6Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? --unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

I think that so many scriptures in the Bible balance this issue, so that we know that we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling, BUT that God is such a loving Father who WANTS us with Him for eternity and who carefully guards His sheep. He is so trustworthy; I know that He is so patient with me, and merciful to me. But as His child, I want to be obedient to Him, and mindful of His warnings. :)

flowerlady said...

I just read this passage this morning. I'm afraid I once went to a church where the whole 'everything is permissable' turned out to be that the backyard barbeques didn't look any different than the non-Christians down the street. 'Freedom' had gone too far in my mind (particularly since I grew up in a VERY conservative denomination). Once again I believe that, as Molly said, discernment is the key. To get the best grip on that key is to know the heart of the Father. That's how Jesus knew what to do at any given moment, He never did anything that He didn't see His Father doing. To some it may look like inconsistency, to the lost it may come up looking like life. The 'church' is often far too quick to judge on matters that matter not and not quick enough when it does!

Kristen said...

I hear you, Lani. Great comments--thank you. Oh, to be like Jesus!!

Amber Lynn said...

Responding to the comments- not so much the post.

Here is my problem with legalism: I am good at following rules and playing the part. I even do it with the best intentions. But I end up being far away from the love of God. It makes me cold, not on fire.

I agree that we need to hold ourselves accountable and other accountable. I would expound on this to make sure we cover two issues. One is that what God has convicted me on might not be what God has convicted you with. It could be something in my heart he is dealing with so I have to act a certain way in obedience while I watch you do the same thing without guilt or remorse which you shouldn't have because it is my rule from God, not yours. I would be wrong to go to you and say, you shouldn't do that.

The second circumstance where I do not hold a standard of rule keeping up is where new Christians are concerned or even those coming to church that aren't yet Christians. I would not bog them down, break their backs and not lift a finger to help telling them these rules must be kept. The number one priority with them is to display love, love and more love. The changes will come. God works quickly in the hearts of new believers and I am not the one that needs to give direction with a bibical disertation on "cleaning the closet" at this point.

Step ONE for all people is a change in heart that can only be given by God before the actions of obedience mean anything. If I am serving myself with my actions of purity or wanting to look good so I won't be criticized or have people think I am not keeping God's commandments, then I am wrong. If I have all the rules, but have not love, I am nothing but a clanging cymbal.

Rachel said...

Good thoughts, Amber -- coming from someone who has been really good at good behavior since way, way before I was a Christian.

Kristen said...

I agree without reservation with your last paragraph, and with some clarification, I agree with the rest.

You're right--without love, and without the true change that only comes from Jesus, we are clanging cymbals. If we talk about obedience without grace and love, we're missing the mark.

I need more specificity to understand or be able to agree with what you're saying. I agree that we cannot hold others accountable to convictions we have (meaning, things that are not commanded in the Word). If that's what you mean, I agree totally.

I agree with you, also, that new believers shouldn't be burdened with complex teachings they are not ready for, that would perhaps discourage them from continuing in the faith. We've got to remember,though, that teaching new believers to obey God is a part of the Great Commission ("teaching them to obey all I have commanded you"). There ARE commands of Jesus, and He said that if we love Him, we will obey them. New believers can handle's not asking them to clean up before they take a shower. It's just what the Christian walk is. Sure, they might screw up or have troubles, but that's how it is, too. That's how we all learn that it's DAILY that we take up our cross, and it's every morning that His mercies are new.

I agree with showering them with love. Love and sound teaching (new Christians are always the hungriest and thirstiest for Truth--give it to them!).

molly said...

I think I agree with you both...

I remember being brand new, coming to church and deciding to walk with God, and this STILL while I was singing in a punk band, living with a bunch of guys (two of whom were drug dealers, the other one who worked at a liquor store and stole booze for us all the time), dating a guy who was so filled with demons that he couldn't hear the word Jesus without spewing (yeah, but he was good-looking and in a really hot band, plus it was easy to hide my church attendance from him...), a vegan who could hardly bear to watch anyone eat meat without hating them, still smoking cigarettes and weed (it was hard enough trying to keep from doing any other drugs, so I thought I was doing pretty good!), etc... I could go on, but I think you get a taste of my lovely past self...

I was so messed up and if those poor people would have dumped all the rules-I-was-breaking on me at once, I would have died. Left, probably. There was no way to easily hop out of the nasty twisted mess I'd gotten myself into.

I cannot tell you how many times I have been SO greatful to God for giving them the wisdom to just shut up and love me. And that was really what I needed. Accepted in the Beloved, not because of what I was doing, but because of who God made me in Christ. And those people treated me like I was accepted. It made change possible.

I remember going home that summer and going to some college thingy at a Bible camp. I was outside smoking (by then I'd made so many changes, and the only thing left was the cigarettes) between classes and the leaders wife walked up and gave me the dirtiest up and down look a woman could give. She then proceeded to give me a lecture about how terrible it was for a Christian to smoke. I just stared at her in disbelief, feeling so dirty and ugly as her words poured over me. Later that evening, I couldn't find my lighter and so went to borrow a matche from over the fireplace, so I could light my cigarette outside. She saw me and told me, yelling from across the room to my total embarrassment, that I couldn't have the match. I just kind of stared at her (had she ever been addicted to nicotine and knew what it felt like to go without it?). Thankfully for me, her husband glared at her and walked over and gave me a match. I left that night, needless to say.

I did quit smoking shortly thereafter, but it had nothing to do with that incident. It had everything to do with me wanting to follow my God. The thought of a "rule" to follow was the last thing on my mind. I was simply concerned about wanting to glorify Him in all things, and being addicted to something that hurt my body didn't seem to be very wise.

Long story, I know, but I'm trying to make a point. I just have this inability to do it in three sentances or less... *wry grin*

I guess after my experience, I am SO careful with new Christians. If they're living with their boyfriend, I say NOTHING about it, for example. I just love them. The living in sin thing is easy--God will get to that when it's HIS time (which may even be through my mouth, when I'm sure it's time to gently approach it!)--but the LOVING them is not so easy, and it takes a LOT LOT LOT of unconditional loving on them before they even begin to start trusting. That acceptance, and living my life for God right in front of them, is the best "nursing milk" a new baby can have. I'm not saying we accept sin--no. But I'm saying we accept the new saint (even if their lifestyle still looks mostly "sinner"). It's just the beginning. If we walk them through those difficult months of infancy (highest rate of human mortality is in infancy--I doubt the number is any less in the spiritual realm, either), then we've got a GREAT chance at feeding them meat later, when they're able to start chewing it.

This novel is now over. If you made any sense of it, you need to pat yourself on the back, pronto!

molly said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Aw, man, it posted me twice...

Coffee and a Muffin said...

Molly, great post!

Kristen said...

Argh, I typed out a response and lost it!

Basically, I want you guys to understand that what happened to Molly is NOT remotely what I am talking about. That lady didn't act in love, and the "rule" she was seeking to enforce isn't even in Scripture.

I don't think Amber and I were disagreeing--I just wanted to clarify where we are coming from. I agree that new believers must be loved and nurtured. They're babies, and the analogy applies in a lot of ways. But they need to be taught the Word of God (again, lovingly and in an accepting atmosphere) so that they can come to know His ways and discover what pleases Him (and what does not).

We've led people to the Lord, and we try to just listen to the Spirit, and see what God wants to do and when. One of the people we led to the Lord in 2001 is still smoking--he's really struggled with it, but I think he may be about to quit for good. Have we yelled at him? Nagged him? Thumped a Bible in his face? No. Have we lovingly counseled him about it, after forging a relationship with him? Yes, and I think we would have been remiss not to do that.

Molly, I hope you can see a difference in what I describe and what that lady did to you. If not, please tell me so I can further explain.

Anonymous said...

Oh, boy, NOT AT ALL was I saying that was you. Even though we're only cyberbuddies, I think I know you enough to know that is NOT what you do (or think!).

I was just trying to bring out the gentleness we must display to New Believers, and the extreme discernment we must use.

When I have a newborn, I just nurse it and rock it, really--and change a lot of diapers!...Later, as it grows into "bigger babyhood," it starts naturally doing things itself--sitting up, crawling, etc,--and I also change my parenting slightly--offering food besides milk, etc...

That's all I was trying to point out...that the *spiritual newborn* stage is rarely the time to deal with a sinful lifestyle. Unless that person comes to me asking questions about their lifestyle, I leave it alone until they are at a "less-fragile" state...and usually, by that time, the Holy Spirit has already breathed to them that they need to get out of whatever sin it is they are which point my task is merely to come alongside and help/encourage as needed. But yet, like you said Kristen, keeping them from Truth is it's a very fine line to walk...

Ok, I have to go lay down now... I am the proud recipient of a flu bug. Rats! I thought I got away without catching it, but discovered late last night, that no...flu bugs like pregnant women too.
Lots of Love in Him,

Kristen said...

Oh, good. One of the things I hate about this medium of communication is the confusion that can result from only having text to convey our understanding. And we get deep 'round these parts, so that just adds more potential for confusion. I am glad you know we'd never treat new believers the way you were treated. :)

I think we are on the same page. When someone truly comes to the Lord in repentant faith, the Holy Spirit is quick to convict them--but as you've pointed out so many times, Moll, it's not condemnation, it's conviction, and the experience and fruit of conviction are totally different from condemnation, which is from the devil. I knew immediately after getting saved, for example, that saying the 'f' word several times per conversation was wrong (I had been in that habit, yes); I knew that abortion was wrong (before Jesus, I was fiercely pro-choice). These were convictions from the Holy Spirit that were almost immediate--and I changed with joy, with the Spirit's enabling, because I was a new creature.

Other realizations didn't come until later, like the media stuff.

Refinement by the Holy Spirit is definitely a process. :) There is nothing more exciting, IMO, than holding a new believer's hand through the fire.

jodi said...

Kristen - I think you did a really good job of addressing this issue. I agree wholeheartedly, especially taking the comments and clarifications into consideration.

I'm going to eat a little bit of pie here - flavored with humility! The context I originally mentioned this verse in was discernment regarding television and movies. So in that context, I would say generally speaking that there are certain types of television in movies which are always unglorifying to God (occultish, demonic, liberal promiscuity, etc.) while others which are more open to individual discernment. I think each Christian is engaged in a unique relationship with the Lord at any given moment. The comments people made about smoking and the process of drawing nearer to the Lord naturally leading to less propensity to sin is worth noting here.

For me, for example, I have gotten more sensitive to movies and television even just in the last 6 months. In the past week or so since we've been discussing it has gotten me evaluating things even more critically too. Am I watching something just because I *can* or because I really want to and there is something to be learned or gained? Can I invite Jesus to watch with me or am I just turning my mind and spirit off as some kind of a "getaway"? I am learning, sadly, that the answer to the last question is often yes.

Yesterday, I pulled out an 80's movie that I really used to like, and I had to stop watching halfway through. It was so much more violent and gory than I remembered and the language was also much worse. I think I used to tolerate such things better, but I guess my spirit is now more sensitive than before. In any case, I still believe that God can speak to us through media that wasn't designed to glorify God, but I am finding the list of shows and movies I can watch without feeling like I'm grieving the spirit is diminishing fast - not because it is against some kind of rule but because I would rather spend the time drawing near to Christ or building my marriage or taking care of my home.

I guess I just think the key is that the focal point is always our relationship to Christ and not any external criteria. God's desire is that He be our God and we be His people - by choice of our free will and not because of any written law.

I hope that made sense. This whole discussion has been extremely good for me! Thanks!

Kristen said...

Jodi, I think it's beyond awesome that you would say everything you just said. NOT because you're agreeing with me (ho ho), but because you are open to the Lord. We're constantly going to run up against differences and challenges in our walk, but it's the attitude of openness to the Lord, openness to being refined, willingness to make changes where you really feel led to, and willingness to be challenged that make all the difference in the world in how much we let God change and mold us, and how we turn out as His disciples (or not). I literally read your response through tears and a closing throat. It is rare, for me, that this kind of discussion is met with such grace and openness...I really appreciate it.

I know exactly what you mean about getting halfway through an old favorite; gosh, that's happened to me a bunch of times. It's tough, but at least it shows us we are growing. :) I think I mentioned in one of my old posts that I was a HU-U-U-GE movie FANATIC before. I have tons of scripts literally memorized. It's been a difficult change...but living for Christ is worth it.

Christy said...

wow, what a lot of good conversation is going on, I've been really encouraged and challenged. I hope I can keep my comments from turning into a goes...:0) LEGALISM is a really tough subject, and I really think Amberlynn hit the nail on the head with her explaination. I am non mennonite, but we went to a mennonite church for 4 years, because we thought they lived how they did out of an independant faith choice. Actually, we found out that these well meaning folks lived out traditions based on church sanctions set up to keep everyone from sin...Though I do believe these people truly love the Lord, I felt that we had to leave because the "follow the rules" way of life was causing us to become lax in our relationship with the Lord. It is easy to just float along, and do what you have to do to to feel right with God. And what really distressed us was the fact that some were appearing to live according to standards, but were sneaking around behind the church's back, to say, watch the football game on sunday. Now there is nothing wrong with doing things like that. The problem is they were feeling like they needed to be deceptive to their fellow brothers and sisters. These people did not feel the football was wrong, but they knew the standard would never change. I think this was very harmful to their spiritual walk! Many neutral decisions like football games, etc. should be left up to the individual. Some may not have a problem with watching this or that...but others do, depending on past issues,vices, or what not. Those types of neutral decisions we need to make ourselves.

Legalism to me also is defined in Revelation 22:18-19 very well:
""...if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book...And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book."
LEGALISM is any set of standards, thoughts or rules that are man made, that are held in as high esteem, or higher than the Word of God...they are additions to the Word.
We are human, and we just want to feel like we are doing things to feel more acceptable to God. Its only natural. Truth is we cannot do one thing to be made more acceptable. Jesus did all the work. We live a godly life out of love for Him. And the Bible is our guide book.

At the same time, its dangerous to take a too careless attitude toward the Word and do whatever we want. I agreed with the posters on this as well. Rachel was right, we need to do what we do out of love, not fear. I also think that a healthy fear and respect for the Lord causes us to keep from being too lax in our walk when it comes to fleshly desires, and curbing them. This battle we are fighting in this life is a serious one! Christ didn't die so that we could return to sin without consequence. He freed us from the bondage of sin so that we could have Unity with Him again, and make choices in our life without the debilitating pull of controlling sin weighing us down.
Love to you in Christ!

Christy said...

I was thinking about the comments on NEUTRAL choices in our lives:
As with any choice, it's wise to look at why I want to do something. Is it for personal gain, or pleasure? (someone had a good point, am I edified, or just trying to 'escape it all'-that is exactly me too many times bc my dh works all day, then goes to school in the evening till 10, so when he gets home, we love to watch a movie to just "unwind"). Is what I decide to eat/say/watch/do/hear, etc. something I want Jesus with me as I do? (someone else brought up that point too, that was cool...) And I had another thought...are my edifying things in proper balance with my neutral things? Satan loves to fill our lives with all kinds of distractions that may not hurt us really. It may cause us to miss opportunities to witness or work for the Lord though...and that is good enough for him!
we are branches on the Vine (John 15). And I think neutral things are fine in proper proportion to real spiritual food. Too many useless things may cause us to wither, and what happens to a withered branch? Nothing is worth being cut off...
ok those are my thoughts on neutral issues...
thanks for reading my novel so patiently...haha!
love in Christ!

Kristen said...

I agree, Christy! Thanks so much for your comments. I meant to bring up that Revelation scripture in relation to legalism (actually, when I was telling Ryan about our discussion, he suggested that "adding to or taking away from" the scripture should be mentioned). :)

I think that your perspective is a unique one, too--you've been an unbeliever, you've been a Mennonite, you love the Lord so much; you know so intimately the value of grace and the blessings of obedience. ((HUG)) I'm glad to know you and am so thankful for everything you've contributed to my life the past few years.

Kristen said...

We posted at the same time, so I just read your second comment. GREAT points there, too, on neutral things.

Christy said...

I had some other comments on comments as well...
Molly had a good comment on FOOD SACRIFICED TO IDOLS. We refrain from doing that kind of thing because of our witness to others, not because the food is necessarily dirty. We don't want to give the mistaken impression that we endorse that idol by eating the food, know what I mean?

Christy said...

"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." ICor.6:19-20

This was a scripture that came to mind when thinking of our liberty in Christ. Lani had a great point on Knowing the heart of the Father too, that I think goes along with the scripture. Knowing God's heart seems to be the key. God bought us, and as we get to know him better, and read His word, and pray to Him more and more, we start to know and want to do that which pleases Him. As we feed more and more on the Vine, fleshly indulgences seem less important. They sort of pale in comparison to the awesome feeling we have being near God. Old things just natrually fall away as we mature, and get closer to the Lord in our walk, I think.

God loves us, and he wants us to live according to His word bc it is the only way to survive against sin and Satan. God wants us to be with Him forever. He also knows we have family, jobs, our church, field of witness, etc. to juggle too. It's not easy or the same cookie cutter way for everyone, so we each have to pray to the Lord for guidence.


Christy said...

ok, I know youre tired of hearing from me by now...I don't always have THIS much to say haha! This subj. like I told ya Kristen, is one that we have had close to our hearts for 2 years now...I've just been dying to talk to others about it!

My dh brought up a good thought on new christians being like children (we have 5 and one on the way)
Molly, you had a great christians need lots of love, and encouragement! Pulling down their old lives right before their eyes can have really bad results. Children need discipleship, and nurturing, and lots of love to grow. AND TIME. So do new christians. And as they mature in Christ, and get to know His heart, they don't need the boundaries, and the constant watching over. That is the same for children as they grow. They need less and less intervention in their lives as they mature. Hope that makes sense, I'm trying too keep it kinda its dinner time already!! Gotta go! Thanks for being patient with all my posts today.
Love, in Christ,

Christy said...

wow, that's so cool about Ryan thinking of that scripture in Rev. really makes you think,when it comes to making choices in life... doesn't it?

Kristen said...

Um, Christy, I can "put up" with you anytime. :)

Christy said...

oh, I wanted to share too, we had been in the mennonite church a while, and became apathetic in our own spiritual lives (not their fault, ours). That was pretty scarey. I kinda woke up with a start one day...pretty scared! I felt far away from the Lord, and like I couldn't find my way back...Satan tried to tell me there was no going back once you had gone too far...and I refused to believe this...kept on praying, and found this little place in my heart where I could go to the Lord was a beautiful experience of love, and God's mercy, and patience with mentioned grace...well, I never knew what that truly was till I had to go back to the Lord, and "start over", bc that is what it felt like. Very humbling, very personal and intimate on a spiritual level...hard to explain.

Christy said...

Kristen said...

Um, Christy, I can "put up" with you anytime. :)

LOL thanks friend!!

Amber Lynn said...

Kristen, Molly and Christy-

I agree with all of you!


Yes, Kristen, you clarified more in a direction I believe in. With new believers in the youth group, we believe in getting them into a discipleship class so they can know more about building a relationship with God and that is through love and love is demonstrated by obedience.

I have a phobia of basically doing what Christy did. When I go through the motions I can lose love really easily because of my personality. I tend to be either very legalistic or very lax. I decided to stomp all over my faith at one point and my life sounded a lot like Molly's. Neither is healthy. Loving obedience to our personal savior is.

Kristen said...

Hey Amber! I am really glad you came back and commented to this.

Of course I agree with what you wrote--that's really cool about the youth discipleship program. :) My youth group really didn't have anything like that when I was a teenager. I think it would have made a big difference in my life if someone could have answered some of my questions and taught me what the Bible says!

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