“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 1 Corinthians 10:23
When you became a Christian, you were forgiven of all your past, present, and future sins when it comes to your salvation. However, we are still commanded to seek God’s forgiveness when we sin. Unconfessed sin in a believer’s life is a serious matter. It affects our relationship to God (1 Peter 3:7), our relationships to others (Galatians 5:15), and at times even our physical health (1 Corinthians 11:29–30; James 5:16).
Some today believe in the false teaching of hyper-grace. This is the doctrine that believes if all my sin is forgiven, and I am not under the law of Moses, I must be free to do anything I please. Therefore, there is never a need to repent, and I can do anything I want. In the book of Revelation, Jesus’ words to the seven churches strongly contradict the idea that Christians never need to repent. To the church at Ephesus, Jesus said, “Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place” (Revelation 2:4). Jesus rebukes five of the seven churches and demands repentance from them (Revelation 2:4, 6, 20; 3:3, 15–19). Far from believers being unaccountable for their sin, they must answer to Jesus for their disobedience (see also 2 Corinthians 5:10).
Preachers of hyper-grace doctrine discount the Old Testament and the Ten Commandments as irrelevant to New Testament believers. They even teach that Jesus’ words spoken before His resurrection are part of the Old Covenant and no longer applicable to born-again believers.
Some will even cite 1 Corinthians 10:23 as evidence of hyper-grace. But, this is a false assumption. Paul had already stated earlier in that letter that his use of that phrase about Christian liberty means all things not explicitly identified in Scripture as sinful. Before he first mentions that “all things are lawful” (6:12), he says explicitly that “the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God” and proceeds to give an extensive list of sins that characterize the unrighteous (6:9–10). His use of all things are lawful always refers to questionable practices, the gray areas of Christian living that are not specifically forbidden in the Bible.
Our faith in Christ has set us free from the penalty of sin, which is an eternity in Hell. But, because we are His, we no longer live for ourselves, and our desire should be to “build up” our spiritual life.
John Macarthur list four tools to grow in Him:
First is His Word. In his counsel to the Ephesian elders who had come to Miletus to see him for the last time, Paul said, “And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32). God’s Word is His supreme means of building us up (cf. 2 Tim. 3:16–17).
Second is preaching and teaching. Later in this letter to the Corinthians Paul tells them that, rather than being so concerned about speaking in tongues, they should focus on prophesying, or preaching, which “speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation.” The “one who prophesies edifies the church” (1 Cor. 14:3–4).
Third is love. Knowledge tends to make us proud and arrogant, whereas “love edifies” (1 Cor. 8:1).
Fourth is obedient service. The purpose of the Christian ministry is to equip “the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:12).
As we live our Christian faith, our desire should be to live for Christ, put others before ourselves, repent our sins, never use our Christian liberty to justify our sin, and grow in Him. What say you, Christian?