Paul has twice in writing to the church at Corinth stressed the importance of making sure that what they do is beneficial, which by extension includes us. In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul was addressing the issue of church members taking one another to court. He explained to them that Christians will judge the world. Not only that, but the saints will judge angels as well. He therefore considers internal disputes as trivial and should be handled within the body of Christ, (1 Corinthians 6:2-3).
In essence, Paul is saying that if we who will judge spiritual things can’t handle earthly disputes amongst ourselves then there must be something wrong with us. Must we wash our dirty cloth in public? Paul went on to stress that, “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any”, (1 Corinthians 6:12). It means that even though it is not wrong under human law to take your fellow Christian to court to settle matters, it is not expedient. In other words, it is not beneficial to the Body of Christ. Paul was actually shocked at the behaviour that was being exhibited by the Corinthian church, because Jesus had already explained how internal strife should be handled and they should have been aware of it, (Matthew 18:15-17).
In 1 Corinthians 10:23, Paul re-echoed the same message and said, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” The emphasis is on doing things that are expedient and edify. We should engage ourselves in things that build up the faith of others in Jesus. In fact, Paul went further and stressed that whilst knowledge puffs up, love builds, (1 Corinthians 8:1). There were many people with knowledge of the Bible in the Corinthian church, but it was clear that they didn’t have love. Unfortunately, the situation is worse in our day. Knowledge is increasing daily but crimes are on the rise. This is no surprise, for this was revealed to Daniel thousands of years ago. The angel told him, “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased”, (Daniel 12:4). Equally, “because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold”, (Matthew 24:12).
Let’s make it clear, there is nothing wrong with knowledge, for the LORD Himself said, “my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”, (Hosea 4:6). But God is talking about having the right knowledge of Him. And without love, knowledge becomes useless. With love comes doing. There are many people who seem to know a lot about the Bible but their lifestyles do not demonstrate love and that is tragic and unfortunate to me. I am not impressed about people who boast about knowing this and that. The truth of that matter is that those who boast about knowledge know nothing, Shakespeare once said, “Man, poor man, so ignorant in that which he knows best”. Only God knows all, and we as individual know only in part. In fact, Shakespeare was just echoing what Paul had said earlier – “The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know“, (1 Corinthians 8:2).
There are babes in Christ. There are Christians whose faith are weak. It is the job of mature Christians to build them up through their actions. Paul therefore said that, even though you know that eating food offered to idol is not wrong, because there is only one true God; you shouldn’t if it will affect the faith of others, (1 Corinthians 8:4-7, 9-13).
Let us not use our liberty in a way that will drive people away from the faith. Let us be considerate of the effect of our actions on people.
By: Seth Gogo Egoeh