July 25 – Today’s Readings – 1Corinthians 8-10 and Psalms 25
The “spiritual freedom” that some of the Corinthian Christians were so proud of seemed to also have a dark side to it. They were boasting about the man who was sleeping with his father’s wife! – Why? – “Because we are all under grace. – All things are permissible for us – don’t you know.”
They were eating food sacrificed to idols because they were “free”, but in the process, some of the brothers were falling back into idol worship – thinking that they could mix idolatry with God-worship. They even seemed to be getting drunk at communion because they were “not under the law” -– “For as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. – One remains hungry, another gets drunk.” (1Corinthians 11:21)
Some time ago, a man came into our church foyer and confronted our pastor, telling him that he smoked pot, got drunk and did all kinds of other things because he was no longer following the “*#”+#^* church rules” – he was under “grace”. As Pastor tried to gently correct his thinking, the man got right up in his face telling him that he didn’t have to listen to any of this “#*^%#”. We somehow persuaded him to quietly make his exit but not before getting a good dose of Corinthian Church deception. There is a very sad ending to this story as the man in question died a very premature drug-induced death as a direct result of his “spiritual freedoms”.
Are we not free in Christ? OF COURSE WE ARE! – Of all people, we have true freedom – freedom from sin and death and judgment – freedom from guilt and bitterness that consumes people – we are free from the grip of the kingdom of darkness but have become slaves of righteousness. We are free from the clutches of the devil and free from the chains that once bound us. We are free to love as Jesus loved us and free to walk in purity. The grace of God gives us the ability and the motivation to say no to sin – “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:11-12)
I know I’m preaching to the converted, but we need to be aware that there are all kinds of twisted doctrines out there. Consider, for example the re-occurring news reports of polygamy and the twisted thinking that goes along with it. Without clear thinking and Godly leadership people are prone to believe a lie. Let’s keep praying for all those who stand in the pulpit every Sunday morning – that their teaching would be the pure and simple Word of God preached with power and authority!
1. Give another example of people who were deceived by overstating or twisting what should have been “sound doctrine”.
2. Describe how ordinary Christians can have overcoming grace. Hint – it has something to do with pride.