yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him, (8:6).
I was raised in the United States, during the time when Judeo-Christian morals were unequivocally shared and upheld. Our Liberty, established in the founding of our nation, was taught to be both highly valued and appreciated, as well as respected. Our Liberty, provided in our Constitution, was not however, a rampant excuse to do anything someone felt inclined to do; but was meant to protect the citizens from becoming enslaved to tyrannical rule.
But I wonder if living in the time and culture of the Corinthian church, when liberty already included a type of “if it feels good do it,” attitude, if hearing about their newfound Liberty in Christ could unwittingly conjure up thoughts of excess; and in so doing, neglect the possible ramifications such actions of personal freedoms may bring onto others.
And it is to this that Paul now speaks. Rather than being consumed by this gift of Liberty through faith, Paul reminds them that their entire life and existence is to be for and through Christ. In fact, their God-given Liberty in Christ concerning eating foods sacrificed to idols, Paul’s authority in the church, and the purpose of their new life, could actually become an obstacle and a stumbling block, unless by faith, they depended upon His Leading.
Consider His Leading in Our Liberty
- He Leads Us in Humility, to love others above Our Liberty.
- …Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies, (8:1).
- He Leads Us in Caring Devotion, to strengthen others rather than flaunt Our Liberty.
- But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak, (8:9).
- He Leads Us in Compassion, to protect others rather than indulge Our Liberty.
- Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble, (8:13).
- He Leads Us in Selflessness, to Forego our rights over Our Liberty.
- …Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ, (9:12).
- He Leads Us in Empathy, to desire relationship more than Our Liberty.
- …I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.23 I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it, (9:22-23).
- He Leads Us with Self-Control rather than becoming sluggish in Our Liberty
- Run in such a way that you may win. 25 Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things, (9:24-25).
- He Leads Us with Purpose, to choose discipline and endurance that we would not be mastered by Our Liberty
- Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; 27 but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified, (9:26-27).
How do we respond to His Leading in Our Liberty?
When Paul spoke of becoming “all things to all men,“ he was not speaking of compromising any part of his faith. Paul was referring to his personal resolve to lay aside his own Liberty in Christ for the sake of the salvation of others.
May we have the heart of Paul. Let us seek Him and His faithful Leading in Our Liberty.
- Lord, Lead us, that we may present to You a heart of Humility, we pray.
- Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you, (James 4:10).
- Lord, Lead us, that we may serve others with Caring Devotion, we pray.
- Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, (1 Peter 1:22).
- Lord, Lead us, that we may protect others with Compassion, we pray.
- So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; (Colossians 3:12).
- Lord, Lead us, that we may tend to the needs of others with Selflessness, we pray.
- Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others, (Philippians 2:3-4).
- Lord, Lead us, that we may build relationships with Your Empathy, we pray.
- Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves, (Romans 15:1).
- Lord, Lead us, that we would love and serve You and Your children, with Self-Control, we pray.
- For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another, (Galatians 5:13).
- Lord, Lead us in discipline and endurance; mastered by nothing but Your Purpose for our lives, we pray
- Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship, (Romans 12:1).
Father, please, may we follow Your Leading in Our Liberty, that our entire life would be for You and for others. Please may we be ever mindful and intensely grateful of the Price You Paid to redeem us as Your own and to purify us for Yourself.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds, (Titus 2:11).