Everything Is Permissible But Not Everything Is Beneficial

Verse of the Day - Day 350

Everything Is Permissible But Not Everything Is Beneficial
Source: Death to the Stock Photo / Composition: Sue Chastain

Welcome to Verse of the Day!

Today's Bible Verse:

1 Corinthians 6:12

"Everything is permissible for me"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"—but I will not be mastered by anything. (NIV)

Today's Inspiring Thought: Not Everything Is Beneficial

There are many things in this life that are permissible for a believer in Jesus Christ. Things like smoking cigarettes, drinking a glass of wine, dancing—none of these things are expressly forbidden in God's Word.

However, sometimes even seemingly wholesome activities are not beneficial. Watching Christian television, for example, could appear to be a very good thing. But, if you watched it constantly, to the point that you neglected reading the Bible and spending time with other Christians, this would not be beneficial.

This "face value" approach is one way to apply today's verse. The approach has merit, but the Apostle Paul meant to address something even more critical.

Cultural Blinders

You may not know this yet, but every Christian has cultural blind spots. When we grow up saturated in a particular society and social group, we can't see that certain common practices are sinful. We embrace these practices as normal and acceptable even after we begin to follow Jesus Christ.

This is the idea the Apostle Paul was treating here with the church in Corinth—cultural blinders. Specifically, Paul wanted to expose the practice of religious prostitution.

Ancient Corinth was well-known for its widespread prostitution—prostitution that was often associated with pagan religious practices.

Many of the Corinthian believers were deceived into thinking that participation with prostitutes would benefit them spiritually. Today, this notion sounds ridiculous.

But that's because our culture views prostitution as offensive and unacceptable. Any Christian nowadays would know that involvement in prostitution is a grievous sin

While we may not be blind to the evils of prostitution, we can be certain that our current day blind spots are just as seductive and wicked. Materialism and greed are two areas that jump to the forefront. Paul wanted to teach believers how to be alert to these areas of spiritual blindness.

It is easy to spot the weaknesses of Christians in other cultures or in the past, but it is crucial to our own spiritual health to understand that we face the same temptations and blind spots ourselves.

Everything Is Permissible

"Everything is permissible for me" was a saying that was being used to justify all sorts of forbidden activities, like eating meat devoted to idols and a variety of immoral sexual behaviors. It's true that believers are set free from following legalistic rules about what to eat and drink. Washed by the blood of Jesus, we can live free and holy lives. But the Corinthians weren't referring to holy living, they were using this saying to justify ungodly living, and Paul would not tolerate this twisting of the truth.

Paul countered with the saying "not everything is beneficial." If we have freedom as believers, we must measure our choices by their spiritual benefit. If our freedom creates negative consequences in our relationship with God, in the lives of other believers, the church, or in people of the world, we must take this into consideration before we act.

I Will Not Be Mastered

Finally, Paul gets to the clincher—the deciding factor: we must not allow ourselves to become slaves to our sinful desires. The Corinthians had lost control over their bodies and had become slaves to immoral practices. Followers of Jesus are to be liberated from the mastery of all fleshly desires so that we may serve Christ alone.

Take time today to consider your spiritual blind spots. Think carefully about what you are doing and how you're spending your time.

Try to pin point the areas in which you have become a slave to your own desires. Have cultural norms allowed you to embrace sinful practices without conviction?

As we grow up spiritually, we no longer want to be slaves to sin. As we mature, we recognize that Jesus Christ must be our only Master. We will seek to please the Lord in everything we do. 

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Source

  • Pratt, R. L., Jr. (2000). I & II Corinthians (Vol. 7, p. 97). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.