1 Corinthians 6:12-13
12 “Everything is permissible for me,” but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me,” but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 “Food is for the stomach and the stomach for food,” and God will do away with both of them. However, the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. — 1 Corinthians 6:12-13
Privilege and Righteous Living
by Tommy Sanders
West Franklin Campus
This week our devotional thoughts have been about freedom we have in Christ. We have freedom from a life under the control of the power of sin and guilt leading to death. No more focus on self-help and working to meet expectations. Given our status as sons of God with guidance by His Spirit, we live as members of His family, becoming like Him and naturally fulfilling the “righteous requirements” of His law.
Today’s passage comes from 1 Corinthians 6. In the midst of a teaching about the practice of this freedom in life situations, Paul makes a very bold statement: “Everything is permissible for me.” Does this cause you to ask, “Everything? Certainly, Paul cannot mean everything.” Are your mental wheels spinning? Can that be the truth, or did Paul just say this to get our attention?
This is the tip of the iceberg of understanding the new covenant and righteousness apart from the law. In the new covenant, our practice is not living by rules or precepts, but living in relationship with God as His dearly loved children. As Paul teaches in Galatians, we are no longer living under guardians and overseers, but we are sons, with full rights as heirs. So as sons of God, we are free from “weak and miserable principles” that were unable to transform our lives. This freedom enables us to fulfill and live out the “righteous requirements of the law.”
Now, as a dearly loved son of God, are there some things that are permissible but not beneficial for you? Are there some permissible things that can overtake your life? Yes! Here is where you must choose. What is best? What can become harmful and should be carefully managed or avoided? Paul gives us some insight into what he means. Some things, like food, are destined for destruction, while others, like our bodies, are designed for eternity. But notice: everything is permissible.
Earlier in the chapter, Paul speaks of going to court. If you have been harmed, do you seek restitution? Is it beneficial for your life as a child of God? Paul suggests that it would be better to be harmed. You no longer are to look at things through the filter of what you can or can’t do or what is your “right.” As a member and representative of God and His family, you now look at things from a new perspective of what brings glory to God and is beneficial to others in love.
Charles Spurgeon explains it this way. “God grant us more and more to be most clearly a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that we may show forth the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. Today I exhort you to holiness, not by the precepts of the law, not by the thunderings from Sinai, not by the perils or punishments which might fall upon you if you are unholy, but by the privileges to which you have been admitted.”
- As an heir of God and a member of His family, are you living in the freedom of the gospel of the Kingdom of God? Give this careful consideration, and if you are not, repent and live the reality of the truth. If it is true of you, take this time to rejoice in the privilege you have been granted, worshiping the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
- Understand that there is no comparison between a Kingdom citizen and a person living according to the world’s principles and values. There is only contrast. Blessings to you all my dearly loved brothers and sisters, members of God’s household, adopted, chosen children of God, heirs of God’s riches, and temples of His Holy Spirit. You are His unique work of art, created in Christ Jesus to do good works as ambassadors of His Kingdom and as members of His royal priesthood. Remind yourself daily, and live your life according to your privilege!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.