“Everything is permissible for me”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 1st Cor. 6:12
We got into a great discussion in Bible Study last night about living by rules or living under grace. It is our inclination as people to want to make rules. In fact, rules are much easier to keep! I think that it is much harder to discern the will of God and understand the leading of the Holy Spirit than to keep rules. Rules make us into little gods ourselves. We decide what is important. We decide where our values will be. A life led by the Spirit of God is a life that has a much different attitude.
So then—there are no rules—right?
Well, yes, that is right. But just because everything is permissible doesn’t mean everything is good. That’s the point that Paul is making here to the Corinthian church. Not everything is beneficial, and I will not be mastered by anything. I love the plain language of The Message, “Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims”
The church that I am a part of has in its history a time of legalism. There are times when we still battle that legacy. But in our desire to move away from legalism may we not lose sight of our responsibility to one another and to God. We don’t need a huge list of rules to keep us “holy”. I completely trust the leadership of the Spirit to lead us into all truth. Our desire should be to live in such a close relationship with God that it becomes my habit to choose to do the right thing.
People will not be attracted to our faith because we our good rule keepers, but because we have a wonderful, warm, attractive relationship with our God.