Posted on : Wednesday May 22, 2019

By Harold Phillips

Sometimes, the New Testament believer has a hard time distinguishing the line between right and wrong. Some hold up the law, and others cling to the word “grace”. At Corinth, many of the new believers had been raised in environments that were outside or even opposed to, the will of God. After the people of Corinth became believers in Christ Jesus as their Savior, navigating through the rights and wrongs
became a challenge for them, and it is a challenge for you and me.

Harold Phillips

As citizens of Heaven, but residents of this world, some decisions that we face as New-Testament believers have nothing to do with the law. Should I drink socially? Should I get a tattoo when all my friends seem to be getting them? What about living together before marriage? Everyone seems to be doing it, even some people who say they are believers in Christ. Some preachers rail against it, and others do not seem to think it is such a big deal.

The Corinthian Church was struggling with similar issues. Paul instructed them that all things are lawful for the believer, being redeemed for eternity by the blood of Christ Jesus, but all things were not beneficial for the believer. In other words, choosing to do like the world around you is not going to condemn you if you are truly a blood-bought, born-again believer.

The fact is that all blood-bought believers fail at one time or another. We are going to heaven when we die because we are in Christ Jesus, but there is another side to this believing life. Christ Jesus has set us free from the law, and He has also set us free from the chains of sin. Why would we willingly chain ourselves to the dead works from which Jesus died to set us free? Yes, you can do those things – but why would you? 

A great example of this is Abraham. In James 2:23, James declared that “Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.” Abraham was making day-to-day decisions like we are. Faced with what to do about a barren wife and a promise from God of fatherhood, he chose to have a child with Hagar, his wife’s handmaid (a lawful way to deal with the need, but not a spiritual way). Although lawful and even common in his day, it was not a choice that would declare him faithful to God before his family, friends, neighbors and, most importantly, himself.

Abraham made a worldly choice, and even though everyone else faced with his challenge did what he did, it was not beneficial for him, because of who he was. This choice did not condemn Abraham, but it did hurt his legacy of obedience and create many problems for the ones who would follow him.

God had called Abraham to a different standard than the rest of the people of his day. Paul was trying to help the believers at Corinth understand this as well. Like Abraham, who lived and served God before the law, we live and serve God after the law, and our choices declare our beliefs.

The decisions we make in everyday life may not condemn us because we are in Christ, but they either bring glory to our Savior, or shame.

Like Abraham, our decisions either help us in our quest to bring glory to our King, or fail us and declare our self-centered commitment to a failing and enslaved world. 

Let us make choices that declare our relationship to a holy God. Let us declare our King and fulfill what we are called to do. Then, hopefully, we can say as Jesus did in His prayer in John 17: 4, “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” 

Jesus declared that He came to represent His Father, and He would say and do what the Father sent Him to say and do. Let us do the same. Choose well, my fellow servants. Choices have consequences, big and small, and sometimes the decisions that we think are small become the big ones.