#DailyDevotion Everything Is Permissible. What Does This Mean?
1 Cor. 6:12-14 12It is permissible for me to do anything, but not everything is beneficial. It is permissible for me to do anything, but I will not allow anything to gain control over my life. 13Food is for the stomach, and the stomach for food, but God will put an end to both of them. The body is not made for sexual sin but for the Lord; and the Lord is for the body. 14 And God, who raised the Lord, will also raise us by His power.
Paul says here that “It is permissible for me to do anything.” What does Paul mean by this? Is everything really permissible for me to do? The verses immediately preceding these say, “9Or don’t you know wicked people will have no share in God’s kingdom? Don’t be mistaken about this: No one who lives in sexual sin or worships idols, no adulterers or men who sin sexually with other men, 10who steal, are greedy, get drunk, slander, or rob will have a share in God’s kingdom.” If those who do such things will not enter the kingdom of God how can they be permissible? What does he mean? Is this just rhetorical device?
He follows this by, “but not everything is beneficial.” What does this mean? He says, “It is permissible for me to do anything, but I will not allow anything to gain control over my life.” He then gives the example of food. It’s for the stomach and the stomach for food but God will put an end to both of them. So what is Paul talking about? Then he talks about the body not being for sexual sin. Sexual sin is obviously not permissible.
One could take it to mean that since all sin is forgiven in Christ it doesn’t matter what you do. I’m sure that has something to do with this. Mentioning food makes me think of the food regulations of the Torah. Indeed we are free from the entire Torah with all its rules, commandments, and regulations for Jesus Christ has fulfilled the whole Law.
Paul draws a parallel between what is beneficial and not letting anything gain control over his life. There is nothing in all of God’s creation that is not created good, that includes sex, possessions, alcohol and speech. But they also have a proper and good use that our LORD and God have established. When they are used in such manner that we use them apart from the appointed means, they become idols and we are telling God he doesn’t know what he is talking about. When we look to created things to provide us every good instead of God who gives us such good things we have left the faith and turned created things into idols. These things enslave us to the improper use of them. Where we were once free in Christ which is being a slave of God, we become enslaved by these things and a slave to sin. This is not beneficial to us.
Not every use of an item or good is also helpful to those around us. Paul is often concerned with the weak Christian. He will not do something if he think a weak Christian will misunderstand our freedom we have in Christ. It may be just fine and good if we do something for ourselves but it would lead a fellow Christian into great sin and vice, enslaving them because it once was a trap for them. So God calls us to love in Christ Jesus, love of God and love of our fellow Christians. If something will put a barrier between us and God or God and our fellow Christian we should not partake of it for it is not beneficial. How can we decide this? Well for one we have God’s revealed word which tells us what things are not beneficial for us. We need only get to know our fellows to find out what is a trap for them. Love is the order of the day.
Heavenly Father, while everything may be permissible, help us by your Holy Spirit to discern what is beneficial and how to use your creation in a manner that is pleasing to you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.