Whatever, anyone and every way

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God – even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1

This is the summary of Paul’s teaching about a believer’s freedoms (rights) and constraints. Although the issues pertain to food sacrificed to idols, idol feasts and food in general, the principles remain the same.

  • Everything that we do, no matter how neutral the action is, needs to glorify God. Food in itself is neutral, it doesn’t bring us closer or further from Him (1 Corinthians 8:8), but if eating it causes a weaker brother/sister to stumble, then it isn’t glorifying to God (1 Corinthians 8:9, 12-13).
  • In Christ, we have freedom. That means we no longer live under the Law, instead we enjoy living in grace. Whatever is neutral (not sin by commission or omission) is open to our enjoyment. Yet, we do not indulge in this right to enjoy our freedom. Instead, we position ourselves as servants of others (1 Corinthians 9:19), giving up even the most basic of our rights so that others might be saved (1 Corinthians 9:12). Who are the “others”? It’s simply every and any one – Jews, Gentiles, weaker brothers/sisters and even the church of Christ (1 Corinthians 9:20-22, 10:32; our witness is strong in unity, John 17:20-23). And we endure this, Paul make no illusions that this is a painful process (1 Corinthians 9:27). This doesn’t mean that we commit sin to reach out of course, but in times when we are placed in difficult positions, God is with us (1 Corinthians 10:8-9, 13-22).
  • How far do we go to seek the good of others? How far do we go to serve them? As far as their freedom will take them (1 Corinthians 10:28-29) if they are involved. No freedom or right of ours stands before the conscience of others (1 Corinthians 10:24). Yet God is gracious, the concession for us is that we are free to indulge where others are not involved (1 Corinthians 10:25-27, 30).

These words cast a wide net on the things we do, the people we consider and the lengths we go in our daily walk with God. It seems like an impossible task, but still Paul says “follow”.

This task is important because brings salvation, the ultimate benefit for any man. It is our witness for Christ. Just as it was Christ’s witness and Apostle Paul’s witness, it is our witness. By doing so, we make ourselves walking and living pieces of evidence that Christ is real.

Redeeming grace to Adam’s race

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:17-19

This verse alone connects the beginning of my Christian journey to the end. The realisation that I, a sinner bent at demolishing and perverting everything that is of God, am loved with the love of Christ is one that transforms me continually. Yet, it is more than a realisation, more than knowledge, more than emotions, it is only and absolutely the work of God.

To say that love is the most important part of a Christian life is a gross understatement. There is nothing else that can bring the entirety of God into our lives, and not just the entirety. The words used are “filled to… all the fullness of God”. The following verse (Eph 3:20) makes it clear that when we think of entirety and fullness, our limited human imaginations have not even begun to grasp what that means. According to my imagination, it goes beyond a life lived in victory and holiness, having the Fruit of the Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit and the character of the kingdom of Christ. To even know what that means, is what only He is able to know.

Truth is, there was never a choice for a different life; there is no other way to live (Luke 10:27-28).

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.

– Fred­er­ick M. Leh­man

All things

I have been reading the works of John Piper. His views are absolutely astounding. Unlike us, he doesn’t limit the Word of God. We often unknowingly frame things to our convenience when we apply the bible to our context. But just read again when the bible says “all things” and receive a whole new picture of life and God.

For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.
Romans 11:36

See Ecclesiastes 1:8 and Jeremiah 17:9. Just in two short verses, we see the problem with this life. Everything drags us down, not just 8 hour work days, sticky family situations, unfortunate events or boring sermons! The greatest liar in this world lives inside of us. Anyone can lie to us, but we will believe what we want to because we are so much more capable to lie to ourselves than others. Such an eye opener!

Just when we imagine that even God is sovereign and superior over everything, the bible brings a new dimension to this fact. Read Psalm 119:91, 1 Chronicles 29:12, Ecclesiastes 11:5, Isaiah 44:24, Ezekiel 7:14, Mark 10:27. And about Jesus, whom is given all things! Read Matthew 19:28, John 1:3, John 13:3. The work that the Holy Spirit does in our lives have a whole new meaning in John 14:26. Our lack totally disappears in His generosity and ability in Romans 8:32.

If only we would stop framing God when He really means ALL THINGS.

“The hardest passages of the bible are the easiest to understand.”
– Anonymous