“…Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31). We often like to change this positive “do” into a negative “do not”–“do not do anything which is ‘de-glorifying’ to God; don’t do anything sinful.” How often have you heard things like, “don’t do this or that because it’s not glorifying to God”? The danger here is succumbing to the mindset that a lack of error and refrain from sin is all that Paul intended by these words (→ 1 Cor 10:31). But to leave the positive assertion untouched (as a positive assertion) is far more challenging–everything we do is to be for the purpose of or aim of glorifying God. As Paul said earlier in verse 23, not everything that is permissible is beneficial. How often do we think in terms of “permissible” rather than “beneficial,” allowing ourselves to think in terms of what’s allowable v. what isn’t, and thereby making 1 Cor 10:31 into a negative command to refrain from certain activities rather than a positive command to “do”–do what brings glory to God, or more so, do what brings the most glory to God? We are drawn towards thinking in terms of “permissible” (in either form: a legalistic moralism or a carnal antinomianism) because it’s much easier. But this doesn’t necessarily entail the radical discipleship of “do” which scripture commands and is therefore terribly insufficient.
On Sunday, August 26th, my pastor preached an excellent sermon from Matthew 15:1-9 at Lake Drive. The question he posed was, “What hold’s authority for the Christian?” The topic of the sermon was God’s word and man’s word—that is, God’s truth, His teaching, His commandments versus man’s teaching, man’s instruction, or man’s tradition. Allow me to share with you some thoughts I had or that pastor Curt Leonard brought out in his message.
God’s word is authoritative. It is perfect, it is true, and it is binding. As such it is the believer’s ultimate authority of faith (what to believe) and practice (what to do; how to live). A parallel truth to this fact is that God’s word is sufficient to instruct us on how to live godly lives in our present age or generation, which implies the concept of making direct applications of its truth to our contemporary setting.
You know you’re a legalist if you place more focus on externals than internals, if you give specific applications (personal standards) the weight of biblical principles, if you’re judgmental of and view yourself as more spiritual than those who have different convictions than you, if you substitute rules or standards for Christian maturity (having rules tell you what to do rather than making spiritually mature-based decisions), if you make rules to be the third person of the Trinity rather than the Holy Spirit (aka, you believe in works sanctification), or if your believe God’s favor on your and your spirituality is based on your performance rather than grace.
You know you’re an antinomianist if you claim victory over death and hell but don’t care at all about victory over sin, if you redefine “Christian liberty” to mean you can live whatever way you want, if to you sin only means something that God forgives, if you have life by the Spirit yet you do not live in the Spirit, if you desire saving grace apart from sanctifying grace, if you prefer easy believism over repentant faith and living with Christ as your Lord, or if you make the Gospel a portioned influence in your life rather than the description of your life.
You know you’re a hypocrite if you judge others harshly but never inspect your own life, if you don’t practice what you preach, if you don’t preach what you practice, or if you have high external standards but low internal ones.
You know you’re an unglorified saint if you struggle with these.
* Originally posted on former blog, I’m Calling Us Out.