Friday, January 8, 2021

Daily Devotion: The Problem Of Christian Liberty

Bible Reading: I Corinthians 8

Key Verse: Verse 9 – “But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.”

Key Words: this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock

Can Christians eat meat offered unto idols? This is a problem we do not face today. But the broader issue of Christian liberty does apply to us; for example, liberty to go to the theater, watch TV, dress any way we want.

There were two sources of meat in Corinth during Paul’s day. There was the regular market (where prices were higher), and the local temple (where meat for the sacrifices were offered at a lower price). The weaker, not yet mature, believers were offended by those who ate the meat offered to the idols in these temples. There were others, not yet mature, who didn’t care what others thought. They said, “We are at liberty to do as we please in this area.” So Paul warns them in I Corinthians 8:9 not to let their liberty become a stumbling block to others. The question is not, can you do this or that. The question is, what’s more important – your liberty or your testimony? Also, Paul warns in I Corinthians 8:12 that if we sin against the weaker, “ sin against Christ.”

A family in Tennessee has handed down a significant letter for at least three generations. William Walter Warmath, a Baptist minister, received it from his mother on his 21st birthday, which came while he was serving as a staff member at Ridgecrest Baptist Assembly in North Carolina. He tells about it in his book, Spirit in Conflict. It had first been written to William’s father, J. G. Warmath, on his 21st birthday, by his father. Since then, William Warmath has passed it along to his own son, Jerry, on his 21st birthday. Here is how the torn pages, yellow with age, read:

Humboldt, Tennessee

March 24, 1893

J. G. Warmath, twenty-one years old today. Free to do as he pleases – to make a first class gentleman, second or third class as you may. Free to associate with first, second or third class ladies and gentlemen. Free to be an honor to his family and society generally or otherwise. Free to lead an honorable and upright life, a life that will be esteemed by all who may associate with you. Free to choose your own occupation and make a success or otherwise. Free to love any nice pretty first class young lady and wed her if she is willing. Free to make all the money that you can honorably and save a good living out of it for old age or misfortune. Free to be your own guardian and counselor – to use all means that may come into your hands as seemeth best to you. But not free to bring reproach upon your Father and Mother’s name... . Hoping that life may be an honor to your name and country. We subscribe our names – Your Father and Mother.”

Nor are we free to bring reproach upon Christ. “Freedom is not the right to do as you please, but the liberty to do as you ought.”

What to do:

✞ Make sure in declaring your liberty, you don’t lose your testimony.

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