“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything.

1 Corinthians 6: 12

 

As we are in Christ and He dwells within us, we gain a very great deal of freedom. There is something truly liberating about the presence of God as it becomes a part of the very essence of who we are. God is present in our entire world in that His engagement, control, and concern have never departed from it. Yet, a profound change happened when God, Himself, became human and joined us in our literal walk through life for those few years. Prior to Christ’s coming, people were required to reach out to God and to seek to follow His stated rules for righteous living by applying the Law to their lives. Although personal righteousness was actually achieved only through seeking to know God well and by following His leading in every aspect of life, humanity became increasingly oriented toward the application of the written law as the way and the means for living properly. In so doing, we drifted away from knowing and following God.

 

The mystical was much harder to grasp and to understand than was the tangible that was found in the Law. Since the Law seemed harsh and most people found that it was very difficult to follow, we devised new ways of thinking and of contemplating what was, in fact, righteous. Among these new ways of thinking was one where we developed a concept that essentially separated that which was related to our physical lives from that which was a part of our spiritual existence. In this way of thinking, our bodies could do almost anything that we found pleasing as our spirits were not a part of those activities. This is a form of rationalization that is still with us. We segregate our religious or spiritual lives from our secular ones so that it is difficult for people to see Christ in our daily living. Yet, it is this dichotomy that Christ’s coming, His incarnation, works to eliminate from the lives of followers of God.

 

Although we are no longer bound by the Law and its very specific code of rules, we should be truly constrained by a more exacting standard. As Christ is in us, we are required to live under God’s design for an inside to out, a heart based, rule of life. In this new form of relationship with God each of us is set free from the need to gain God’s approval by our external actions, and we are granted by His grace the ability to determine what is good, beneficial, and worthwhile. Yet, this very freedom is tempered by the command that all that we think, say, and do needs to be engaged in for the glory of God. In simple terms, in Christ we are redeemed from lives that were condemned to sin and death, and we are being transformed from being creatures who lived out of the imperative of our lostness into ones who are in the totality of the image of God. This is a process that is benefitted when we choose to set aside thoughts and actions that we find personally pleasing in order to engage in ones that truly bring glory and honor to Christ.

 

 

 

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