“All things are lawful for me, but not all things are expedient: All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything”. (1 Corinthians 6:12). This passage has astonished me for decades. How could it be that ALL things, (that’s clearly what it says in the Greek), are lawful to me, a follower of Christ? The whole idea feels so dangerously close to license that I’ve avoided it for more than thirty years.
I’m certain such a verse would never be found in the “New Pharisee Study Bible.” It constitutes seizure material to the religious mind, (which may well explain why I’ve avoided it). “Warning!” My mind would flash! “A fatal error is occurring in the religious sector.”
But now that I’m finding deeper roots in the grace of God, it’s making more sense. Grace understands that the sin issue has been so thoroughly solved at the cross, that the law no longer has jurisdiction over us. (Romans 6:14) We have been changed into something new, into sons and daughters defined not by what we do, but in who’s we are.
A son might say, “I’m a prince. It doesn’t matter how I live because my Father is the king.” And in one sense that might be true, especially if the good King, by some unthinkably selfless act has preemptively taken all of his son’s punishment upon himself, and canceled all requirements of the law over him. (Colossians 2:13-14) But the son’s words betray the fact that he knows precious little about being a prince.
When you and I finally realize the extent of the work of Christ on the cross – that ALL of our sin is gone, and that we are no longer under the law, we might say with Paul, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are expedient, because I am a child of God.” When a man finally realizes he’s a beloved prince, his behavior won’t be far behind.