- The greatest commandments of Christ are found in Matthew 22:36-40: “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” Jesus said to him, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
The framework to help us follow these commandments are here:
1 Corinthians 6:12, 13 “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.”
1 Corinthians 10:23, 24 “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth.”
The Apostle Paul exhorts us to consider ALL our thoughts and actions in the service of the Lord. The Bible is silent on some things and we need to have Godly principles in order to tread these sometime treacherous waters.
I have not applied these principles very well myself and have seen other Christians do the same causing me to sin because of it. I wonder how many times I have caused others to fall, sin, or reject God. That is a scary thought.
We are commanded to put on the full amour of God to guard against the wiles of the Devil (Ephesians 6:11). We shouldn’t have to keep it on in order to guard against loose Christianity, but we do. Just last Wednesday night, I had to do this in order to avoid a distraction at church (of all places) that could have led to temptation. Thank you Lord for 1 Corinthians 10:13 and Psalms 119:11! I still fall but am diligently pursuing these principles.
These two sections of scripture should straighten our path and draw us closer to God. Unfortunately, they have been used to rationalizing our liberty in Christ and friendship with the world. This is an abuse of God’s grace, love, and disobedience to His commandment to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to Him in the service of others. Below are the four principles described by Paul in the above two passages. These principles describe in part, the Law of Christ (Galatians 6:2, 1 Corinthians 9:19-23) .
THE FOUR PRINCIPLES
(1) Is what we are doing expedient? Is it moving us forward and promoting our walk with God?
(2) Does it bring me under its power or influence? Is our bodily or fleshly appetite fed by what we do. It can be something as subtle as rock music on the radio, our desire for certain types of entertainment, or you can just think this: What has power over your desires, wants, and perceived needs when you go about your day?
(3) Does it edify myself or others? Does it it build us up, instructing us in knowledge and character of the Lord?
(4) Does it cause others to stumble? We don’t always realize how we affect others. This requires careful consideration and prayer when choosing how we use our liberty in Christ.
If Christians chose to apply these principles to what we do, many things would change. Our hearts and minds would no longer be subject to certain worldly influences and we would be built up by the wisdom of these decisions. Take this for example: I removed television and most video content out of my life. Recently, I clicked on a link to a video on Facebook that was describing the corruption of a faith movement pastor. My stomach was turned immediately. So much the the filth from my TV days came rushing back in just for a moment, and the moment was not lost. Those images and thoughts reverberated in my mind for days. They are fading now but I am glad I stopped the video after just a few seconds.
We need to be much more careful of even our selection of Christian video sources (Psalm 101:3). Previous experience with radio pastors has already influenced how I use the car radio. We are free to use these mediums but they do come with a price and need to be used according to the guidelines above. I cannot have television without compromising the principles above. Think about your kids. It is impossible to watch television and be able prove all that is acceptable to the Lord before you set their eyes before it. You do not want to lose your children to the world. The price of compromise can be weighed in the loss of souls of loved ones.
One of the best benefits of following these principles is freedom from the bonds of things that have power over us. Brothers and sisters, these principles will help keep us and others from sin.
A POINT OF CLARIFICATION
These questions do not applied to things that are commanded in scripture such as: fornication (1 Cor. 6:16-18; 1 Thess. 4:3-6), holiness vs. uncleanness (1 Thess. 4:7), reproving darkness (Eph. 5:11), being drunk/high vs. filled with the spirit (Eph. 5:18), corrupting language vs. edifying words (Eph. 4:29), filthiness of the flesh or spirit (2 Cor. 7:1), prove all things to abstain from the appearance of evil (1 Thess. 5:21-22), lusts of the world (1 John 2:15-17), friendship with world vs. enmity with God (James 4:4), or our physical appearance (1 Tim. 2:9, 1 Corinthians 11:1-15).
I hope no one believes we are free to abuse God’s grace in these areas either. There are sometimes permanent consequences in doing so. God’s judgment is severe. Have you read 1 Corinthians 3:16-17? “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”
Paul was writing to Christians and warning them of God’s destruction of our body and soul because of our choices.
There are sins unto death and sins not unto death (1 John 5:15-17). Nevertheless, we need to prayerfully consider God’s guidance in all we do.