July 12, 2022 | Dr. Brad H. McLean
What is Christian freedom? The Apostle Paul, in the first letter to the Corinthian church, warns and encourages Christians to use wisely the freedom we have in Christ. Such freedom, when used unwisely, has the potential to damage our witness or the faith of another believer. It may seem strange to think of freedom, or the exercise of freedom, as harmful.
I define Christian freedom as the gray areas of following Christ—those areas that are not sinful but may lead to sin. Paul states it this way, “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify” (1 Corinthians 10:23, NASB). “All things” in both verses speak to the gray areas of faith—those areas that are not sinful but areas to be avoided for the sake of others. All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. Lawful means those things that are permitted. Profitable speaks to actions that are advantageous, beneficial, or useful. Again, all things are lawful, but not all things edify. Edify means to build up. The word literally means to “build a house.” The message of 1 Corinthians 8-10 focuses on the building up of other believers through being faithful in our Christian freedom.
Scripture reminds us how important it is to use our freedoms wisely in a way that honors God. “Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor…whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:24, 31). 1 Peter 2:16 says “Act as free people, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bond-servants of God.” Like Paul, let us use our Christian freedoms for God’s glory.