English blog

… not everything is edifying

07-12-2011 - Posted by Andre Piet

A number of times, in the first-letter to the Corinthians, Paul repeats his motto…

All is allowed me, but not all is edifying. 6:12; 10:23

It gives a brief description of how the apostle, himself, lived his new life. It also perfectly demonstrates “our freedom in Christ Jesus” (Gal.2:4). Never does this require a believer to ask: Is this allowed?, because “all things are lawful”. Next… that many people reject this as debauchery, proves a legalistic mentality. Oddly enough, such a legalistic way of thinking can lead to adopting an unruly lifestyle. Legalism is not only expressed in a life where few things are allowed. One who pursues a lifestyle where everything goes, under the motto “all is permitted”, also is caught-up in legalistic thinking. One does not do a thing, because it is not allowed, while the other does a thing, because it is allowed. Both are governed by the principle of ‘law’. Paul’s statement implies that the lawfulness of things is TOTALLY irrelevant to the choices a believer makes. The question is always: Is it edifying? What that means is clear from the context:

All is allowed me, but not all is expedient. All is allowed me, but not all is edifying. Let no one be seeking the welfare of himself, but that of another. 1Cor.10:23,24

This means: expedient is that which edifies, i.e. what serves the welfare of the other. Debauchery means: doing what you like to do. The benefit of the other, in general, and that of the ecclesia, in particular (>10:32,33), should be the guiding principle of every believer. Any self-interest is to be subordinate. The many practical instructions, which Paul gives in his letters, are not laws (‘this may and that may not’), but, one by one, are guidelines for the up-building of the ecclesia; where the characteristic in each facet is: the glorification of GOD.

Then, whether you are eating or drinking, or anything you are doing, do all for the glory of God. 1 Cor.10:31

An edifying and constructive life, aims, to the smallest details, to display the glory of GOD! ——————————— translation: Peter Feddema