“…for why is my liberty judged of another man’s conscience?” (1 Corinthians 10:29)
We live in a time of history that so-called Christians have the attitude: I am saved, therefore I have the liberty to do whatever. To support this wide-spread belief they reference 1 Corinthians 6:12 and 10:23a “All things are lawful for me…” But they leave off the remaining part of the verse, “but all things are not expedient (or profitable): all things are lawful for me, but all things edify (build up) not.”
Here is a case in point that the word “all” must be defined and limited to the context. The “all things” that are lawful are only things that honor God, things that are holy and pure and bring glory to God. The “all things” do not include sin.
Paul answers his own question in our text verse by saying in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” And in verse 32, “Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:”
Paul also deals with the same subject concerning our liberty in Christ in Romans 14, concerning doubtful disputations (or reasoning) concerning foods, drinks, certain days, etc. Paul concludes in Romans 14:21, “It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.”
The key here is we don’t want to use our liberty in Christ to cause a weaker brother to stumble, be offended, or be made weak by our actions; even though we know before God, it is of faith (Romans 14:22-23).
Therefore, the liberty of a child of God (one born of God, called a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ) is found in the word “temperance” or self-control. Temperance is part of the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:2-23).
The fact is we cannot do as we please; we must do as God commands. Therefore, we have a responsibility to Him and to our weaker brethren.
Christian, inspect (or examine) your daily actions. Are you gratifying yourself too much? Has your liberty in Christ become a stumbling block?
In today’s Christian community, the independent spirit of the flesh is all too prevalent. There is a great lack of respect to the weaker brother in Christ. Many Christians today are not Christ-minded, or even church-minded; they are self-minded. But brethren, we have a great responsibility to our brothers and sisters in Christ, and even to the heathen in how we present the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Paul gives us the answer to his question in Romans 14:13-23:
“Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. (14) I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. (15) But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.
(16) Let not then your good be evil spoken of: (17) For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. (18) For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. (19) Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. (20) For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. (21) It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
(22) Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. (23) And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”