As we continue to follow Paul’s practical teaching through 1 Corinthians, he’s been talking about carnal Christians. These are believers who love the Lord but are ruled by their feelings rather than the Word of God. They’re saved people who act like the world.
In my last post, we saw that these carnal believers have no kingdom inheritance. They’re missing out on many of the blessings that are ours in Christ.
As a matter of fact, there may have been some self-righteous Christians who got offended by my last post. They would disagree with me when I say that carnal believers are saved. My understanding of the grace of God will not allow me to so easily destine these people to hell.
I know that it’s very easy for worldly Christians to use the grace of God like a doormat. They live like the world and “wipe their feet off” every so often to ease their conscience. But the Bible does teach that this is a possible response to God’s grace.
However, living this way gets very little of the kingdom blessings. There will also be no eternal rewards waiting for them.
Paul records their mindsets as we continue in his letter.
“Everything is permissible for me” – but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me” – but I will not be mastered by anything.
1 Corinthians 6:12
They say that they’re free to do whatever they want. That much is true. But as Paul comments on it, he makes it clear that certain behaviors come with a price. This worldly lifestyle will bring no kingdom benefits. And it will also come to the point where these sins are controlling you.
In telling His disciples about the last days, Jesus warned them of falling into this trap.
“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.”
Here Jesus tells us of three weights that can hinder us from fulfilling our destiny. They are called dissipation, drunkenness, and anxieties. We will never reach our true potential in Christ if we try to live with these hindrances.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
We’re warned to throw off the things that hinder. Probably the worst is dissipation. We allow the best parts of our life to be dissipated.
The world has so many distractions these days. Classes we could take, recreational opportunities, athletic events, and entertainment. All of these things, in and of themselves, add to our enjoyment of life. They’re good things.
Yes, they’re all permissible things, but they can become the masters of our lives. They dictate our schedules. They tell us what we can and can’t do for God.
We fill up our time with all these good things. Then, more often than not, God gets the leftovers. Our leftover time, strength, and resources.
If left unchecked, the church can become a prisoner to our permissible things. If we find ourselves in this condition, then we need to be set free by the power of God.
Question: What will it take to break free from a worldly lifestyle?
© Nick Zaccardi 2019