Yes, ALL Things!
Now this isn’t the message that I was looking to write tonight, but here it is. Like it or hate it, it is what it is.
I have been digging back into a set of tapes, an album actually of Dr. Scott’s teaching on Paul’s writings in the New Testament. And I think it is pertinent that I fill you in on a point of Paul’s that I do agree with. When you first read it and hear someone say this, your gut reaction is “wait a minute.” Your mind kicks into a defensive/attack mode. But if you will just reason through this with a little philosophy, I think you’ll find it makes sense. If you don’t, then that is your prerogative to disagree.
Paul says the following:
1 Corinthians 6:12 (NASB)
All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.
Let this sink in. When Paul is saying all things, he means all things. Look it up in your Vine’s and Strong’s dictionaries. If you are covered by the blood of Christ then any sin you commit is covered, except for the one sin for which there is no remission, sin against the Holy Spirit, but I am not going to discuss that now. If you sin it is covered, and even willful sinning in full knowledge, because let’s face it, you willfully sin all the time. Let me be straightforward, I don’t believe in a hierarchical order of sins. A near miss is as good as missing by a mile. You name it, it’s on equal footing: adultery, murder, gluttony, gossip, etc.
We live our lives and things happen to us, both bad and good. Bad things happening does not necessitate that you are out of step with God. In fact it could mean that you are in step with God and Satan is attempting to put the kybosh on what you are doing. On the other hand, God could be testing you or trying to teach you something. Regardless of who is putting you through your paces, the response should be to lean upon God. He will enter in and work it out for good. That’s our promise, and one that I have oft quoted in other articles. He will take care of you despite what the world will tell you or other Christians for that matter. He’s your father and He cares about you.
So, after we all read the first half of verse 12, some will look at it and say, “Now I can go out and sin like hell!” Hold up; let’s look at the rest of the verse. Those things may not be profitable. In other words, you should say to yourself or other Christians, “What are the consequences for your actions?” Let’s play the “for instance” game. Here is the scenario. I am a Christian that has screwed up. I made a mistake and know it and admit it. Let me pick a sin that everyone likes to camp out on, let’s say I chose to commit adultery.
Ah, so here I am. Messed up and put myself in a bad situation and I fell for a woman. So I’m on the same footing with David. I walked out and caught a glimpse of a lady jogging by and I am smitten. Days go by and I talk to her, and one thing leads to another and we “hooked up” to use the current slang term. Am I now doomed to hell? Do not pass go and do not collect $200 dollars? No, because that sin is covered. Covered by a God who knows my heart, and knows whether I really am sorry or not. Even if I am not at the time this happens, if you are a Christian, then you will be convicted and brought to that mindset. Our God is the one that really knows the heart and He’s the only one that counts. So the local church board and members can like it or lump it. How often do we forgive our brothers or sisters, 70×7? While we were yet sinners Christ died for us. This doesn’t just apply when everything is going good. Someday someone is going to do you wrong and how you react is as important as the sin done to you. If you are the wife, can you forgive that cheating husband? I’m not going to say that this walk is easy. As the pastor I was listening to on Sunday said, those apostles followed Christ and they were killed. God didn’t promise you a rose garden.
Now, even though I may not be under condemnation any longer from God, I am going to have consequences for my actions. Clearly, it was not profitable for me to do this. Society will judge me and so will the Church. And we should, but in the spirit of Christ. We are to go to that person in love, not bearing hate and malice. Remember, let he who is without sin chuck the first rock. Sure there will be trust issues and hearts broken. Am I still covered though? Yes.
Whether you like it or not, the above scenario happens all the time. The sin committed might not be adultery. Plug in your sin of choice. When we sin, we do it willfully. It is a conscious choice. We sin because that is what we are, born sinners needing the covering of Christ.
The next argument will be this. So, I can just go out and sin like crazy? Don’t you dare use this freedom for sin. Paul doesn’t want you to and I don’t want you to. Remember, Paul tells us that, when we start out, we take in the ‘milk’ of the gospel because we can’t chew and digest the meat. You have to grow in the faith. Even though we have this freedom, you need to think about your brothers and sisters that are still new and don’t understand such things, so we need to teach them.
1 Corinthians 8:9-13 (NASB)
9 But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to theweak. 10 For if someone sees you, who haveknowledge, dining in an idol’s temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be strengthened to eatthings sacrificed to idols? 11 For throughyour knowledge he who is weakis 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 sinagainst 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.
And believe me; I have had this discussion before. If you don’t mind, I would like to provide a little background on Paul. He was of the mindset that the end was just around the corner. They expected Christ’s return anytime. Paul was willing to do anything, in that frame of mind, to grab converts and keep them. As time went on, it became clear that they needed some rules and structure and so in the later writings you have him setting up that structure. But, Paul will actually say, I don’t know if this is the spirit or just my opinion, but here it is. Paul was just a man, divinely inspired and tapped to be the apostle to the Gentiles. But he was still a man. My point here, is that not everything Paul said contained in his letters was of God, as Paul freely admitted.
But to get back on topic, what happens when you are born again? The Holy Spirit dwells in you. Are you changed because of this process? Let this sink in. Think about holding a piece of radioactive material and then go see if your cells were not changed. Read about the change in the apostles of the New Testament. The same thing that happened to those men and women will happen to us when we are born again. Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and forever. His word never changes and His promises are unchanging. That energy, or “dunamis” in the Greek (from which we get dynamite), is in you even now.How dare we sully God’s power and think, and even say, that His power, the very same Holy Spirit that changed those apostles, can’t change us? Who are you to make such a statement? Sounds like a “get thee behind me Satan” moment to me.
Just a bit more and then I’m done. I heard a pastor speak about how the gospel of Christ has been feminized and, sorry to all the women out there, I say AMEN! It’s about time that the church stops walking around like a bunch of crying women and starts acting like children of The Most High. Click on the TV and you can bask in the glow of ‘milk toast Christianity.’ “Please ‘o please don’t say thus and so, so as not to offend the world.” Guess what saints, Christ called us to offend the world. You are going to tick people off when you say, “It’s Jesus or nothing and you will go to hell if you are not with Him.” Sorry to some of you mega-church pastors… His world, His rules. So have a backbone and stand up!
We sing songs at church about how mighty our God is but, to hear some Christians tell it, He’s not strong enough to overcome someone’s urges? What does the Bible say? Although it pains me to do it, I am going to quote from James. Those that know me will know why I said that and those that don’t, that will be a topic for another time. However, on this point, James is correct.
James 4:2 (NASB)
You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask.
Is not God our father? Or are those just nice poetic ramblings by the apostles? Is it not written that we are to ask for things that we need? Can it not be for material things, for help in situations, or for changes to our person? I can’t even begin to think through any one of the 4 gospels without verses jumping to mind that support this. We need to stop being on the defensive about our lives, saints, and start marching forward, and start asking God for things. He’s our father.
We need to quit sitting our pastors, and fellow church people, up on pedestals and start looking at the Old and New Testament saints as what they were, flawed people. They were taken by God to be used by Him to promote His word and He would use their lives as instruments of teaching. The same can be said of us today. God wants to take us where we are at and use us. You don’t have to clean yourself up and make yourself presentable. God will meet you where you are.
One of the problems with Israel is that they became self-righteous in their thinking, believing that they were something special deserving of special treatment. They were lifted up in pride, not understanding that they should be eternally grateful to be chosen by God out of all the races on the planet to be the focal point of God’s story. To be showcased throughout eternity as an example of God’s mercy. Our existence, the creation and the eventual destruction of this world revolves around them. The rise and fall of Israel, and their eventual restoration, is the story of the Bible. We Gentiles are blessed to be included and to be along for the ride. Praise be to Jesus, that that was part of the plan. There’s your good news. We are the wild olive branch engrafted onto the olive tree. He was looking for a people to trust Him and take Him at his word. That’s what you do when you are saved. God finds you and says will you trust me? For that I give you the gift of grace, unmerited favor. You can’t work to earn it; it’s yours free of charge. You don’t have to change yourself one bit, but you better hold on, because God will change you!
I’m going to end this like my old pastor would and say,
“What are you looking for from your wife, your children, your family and friends? Are you looking for perfection or trust?”
God’s looking for a people to trust Him.
I look forward to hearing from you in the form of comments or even emails. Have a great week!
Grace and Peace to you!
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