Introduction – Everything is Permissible

Everything is Permissible 

‘Everything is permissible’ – but not everything is beneficial.  ‘Everything is permissible’ – but not everything is constructive.  Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.  I Cor. 10:23 

Jesus’ message to the Jews was; “If you hold to my teachings you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  John 8:31.  “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”  John 8:36.  God created mankind to be children in His eternal kingdom (Luke 6:35; II Cor. 6:18).  Christians now enjoy God’s sonship program with full rights; therefore, we are heirs of God’s kingdom and the eternal life in His kingdom (Gal. 4:4-7).  We look for the return of Jesus so that we may receive our new bodies and our inheritance (I Cor. 1:7; 15:42, 43; Rev. 21:7).  Freedom from sin is a favorite topic of preachers and it should be, but what then?  What is the next favorite topic?  What are the topics of the lessons with which the overseers (elders) feed (pastor) the flock?    

So he who was a slave when he was called by the Lord is the Lord’s freedman; similarly, he who was a freedman when he was called is Christ’s slave.  You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.  I Cor. 7:22, 23

 In the foregoing scripture Paul was referring to a Christian who had been a slave in the Roman Empire.  In his letter to the saints in Rome, he wrote, “But now that you have been set free from sin and have becomes slave to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.”  Rom. 6:22.  This is the next most needed continuum series of lessons for the church.  This is what the Hebrew writer encouraged when he said, “Therefore let us leave the elementary teaching about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death and of faith in God.”  Heb. 6:1.  The aim of each church member is to continually “put off the old man and put on the new;” to move from “glory to glory;” to reinvent ourselves; to conform to the image of Jesus Christ in character and personality (Eph. 4:22, 23; II Cor. 3:18; 5:17; Col. 1:27). 

We need the graces of the cross to become, and remain free from guilt about the sin and death weaknesses we are maturing from within ourselves.  “We cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.”  II Cor. 13:8.  One truth that sets us free is the description of how we are made to mature into the quality of life of Jesus (II Cor. 3:3).  By the grace of God in Christ and the truth about our lives, Christians are free to develop as sons and daughters of God (John 1:17; II Cor. 6:18). 

While seeking the principles of life for contemporary members of the church that have been embedded in I Corinthians chapters seven through sixteen, we will want to remember our exegetical work in the Parts I and II. 

  1. Even though the topics Paul announced at the beginning of each chapter may be studied as individual units, we must not forget their historical and literary context.  This controls our hermeneutics; it determines how we define “what the meaning is” of what has been embedded for us.  For instance, we must not forget that someone was continually trying to discredit Paul as an apostle (I Cor. 4:3, 15-19).  Please review Part I, Lesson Two, items five and six.  Also review the “We, You, They” chart in Part I, Lesson Three.  Paul did not expose them in I Corinthians but these false apostles were there from the beginning.
  2. Since our four capabilities are the context of all scripture, we will want to review Part II, Lesson One.  Under the concept of literary analysis, we understand the learning of scriptures comes first to our minds.  Simultaneously our conscience will be checking out this thing we are learning.  The conscience asked, “Does it synchronize with what we believe is good or evil?  If we have faith in the content of these scriptures we have understood in our minds, the information will then become a passion in our hearts.  Without our bodies we could not practice what has been internalized in our hearts and minds.  A lot has been said about these four capacities of a human being in the Corinthians Letters.  Please review Part II, Lesson One.  We need to pay attention because we are always trying to learn a way to satisfy one of our needs; however, we need truth. 
  3. Finally, there are urges that have been moving us into our physical reality for their satisfaction.  Did Paul know about them at the time he wrote these letters?  Surely he did because he dealt with our God-given urge for sexual relationships in I Corinthians chapters five and six.  The proper way to attain satisfaction of this very strong need will be the subject of our first lesson in Part IV.  

Why did Paul say; “Food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food” in the discussion of our innate sexual needs?  Surely, he meant it was also a very strong urge for people who still live in a physical body.  And what about those men who were boasting about their own achievements?  They had learned and had been blessed with a higher life, but they wanted to claim it was by their own talents.  See I Cor. 4:6-8.  They had been born with a need to achieve.  They wanted social acceptance based on their achievements because this is the way they would satisfy their need for glory.  In this situation the members of the church were not being honest with themselves.  The point is they, like all people have a need to achieve.  God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit know about the inherent needs God instilled in us.  If we are not aware of our innate urges, we will not appreciate the information in these letters.  It has been written to help us find satisfaction for our needs.  Satan knows about the needs God put in us but he will tell us lies.  This is how he deceived Eve (II Cor. 11:3).       

 Freedom for each member of the body of Christ to grow by the wisdom of God in relation to specific topics is what the lessons in Part IV will be about.  We will follow Paul’s structure by studying the topics he introduced with the phrase, “but concerning” and other similar pronouncements. The following are the topics:

Lesson One:               Sexual Passion of Humanity

Lesson Two:               The Function of the Mature Conscience

Lesson Three:            Freedom in Christ

Lesson Four:              Jesus Christ, the Rock of Ages

Lesson Five:               The Lord’s Supper

Lesson Six:                  Life “in Christ” in the World

Lesson Seven:           God’s People

Lesson Eight:              The More Excellent Way

Lesson Nine:              The Resurrection of the Dead



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