Blessings to you, the readers of this page, in Jesus Christ our Lord. May He guide you and protect you always.
The Lord has shared with me a very simple yet powerful way for us to understand how He wants us to live our lives. He wants us to be close to Him.
"Draw near to God and he will draw near to you." (James 4:8a RSV)Everything we think or do can be judged by whether it draws us closer to Him or pushes us farther away from Him. We can think of it as a Tug Of War, with one side pulling us closer to God and the other side drawing us away from Him. (If you know any physics, you can think of it as vectors along a horizontal axis.)
Throughout the Bible, there are fundamental dualities: good vs. evil; righteousness vs. sin; pure vs.impure; heaven vs. hell; fruits of the Spirit vs. fruits of the flesh; the sheep vs. the goats; saved vs. unsaved; the Kingdom Of God vs. the lake of fire; submission to God vs. rebellion against God; light vs. darkness; God vs. Satan.
All of these dualities are variations of the one basic duality: close to God vs. not close to God. The spiritual realm is "binary." It has only two moral states: close to God and not close to God.
Once we recognize this binary nature of all things, we can examine our own thoughts and actions to see if they draw us closer to Him or push us farther away. "Sins" are those things which push us away from God. What we see immediately is that some things draw us strongly closer to Him, some things push us strongly away from Him, and some things are quite neutral, exerting no particular force either way.
This is what Paul is talking about when he says that all things are lawful for us Christians, but not all things are helpful.
--------------------------------------------------- "All things are lawful," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful," but not all things build up. (1 Corinthians 10:23 RSV) ---------------------------------------------------The "helpful things" are the things which draw us closer to God. We should emphasize and develop these helpful things and turn away from those things which push us away from Him. Regarding the huge number of "neutral" things, we are at liberty to do whatever we like.
At this point, we perhaps need to provide some kind of list of "helpful things" vs. "unhelpful things." But I'm not going to give you such a list, because it is better if you go and seek them for yourself. The Bible is filled with things to do and things not to do. Start with the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20); then read The Sermon On The Mount (Matthew 5-7) and the other teachings of Jesus (Matthew, Mark, Luke John). Then read the rest of the New Testament. Finally, if the Spirit leads you, you can go back into the Old Testament in Deuteronomy and Leviticus and read the specific laws God gave to the ancient Israelites under The Old Covenant. These no longer apply to us as Law, but they do give an indication of what God likes and does not like us to do.
But always remember this: THE VERY MOST IMPORTANT THING IS LOVE. No matter what else you do, if you are filled with love for all people, you draw close to God.
Galatians 5:14 (RSV) For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Romans 13:8 (RSV) Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:9 (RSV) The commandments, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Romans 13:10 (RSV) Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. James 2:8 (RSV) If you really fulfil the royal law, according to the scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well. Proverbs 10:12 (RSV) Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses. 1 Peter 4:8 (RSV) Above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. <><
May the Lord bless this presentation of His holy Word.
Rev. Bill McGinnis <>< email@example.com
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See more pages like this, at our Index of Pearls Of Faith, a treasury of Biblical truths.
Blessings to you. May God help us all.
Rev. Bill McGinnis, Director - LoveAllPeople.org
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God's One Law For All Mankind: "Love All People As Yourself."