Grace or Law?

Originally Posted: Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Now Playing: silence again

Paul said that “everything is permissible” but not necessarily “beneficial” and that he would not be “controlled” by anything. So with that being said, let’s look at our actions, like smoking and drinking. It is clear that scripture says nothing against drinking, but it does speak against drunkenness, it speaks about obeying the laws of your land, and it speaks against setting a false witness. Also with smoking. Scripture never addresses this issue, so why do we think of it as so wrong? Obviously in our society we must be careful with our witness. Also, scripture speaks of being addicted and our bodies being a temple. However, if you are healthy and you aren’t addicted, why can’t this just be a good way to relax, which is better for your health (considering stress levels of this day). Maybe it’s just me but what is the big deal?  Especially when done with friends who are of like mind, this can help build community (Not that community is more important than a sin issue, but if doesn’t cause them to stumble and isn’t a sin then what is the harm every once in a while as long as we keep in mind that we shouldn’t let anything be our master except God?) Besides this I think we need to stop looking at actions as the real issue of sin and come to a realization that our hearts are the real issue. God is always after our hearts. We are sick and twisted beings deep down if we don’t have Jesus. The action isn’t the issue, our need for Jesus is the issue. Now that I’ve chased that rabbit, back to the subject at hand. I also think as far as the whole witnessing thing goes that it takes our discernment.  If it doesn’t cause someone to look at you wrongly then it doesn’t hurt your witness.  Now with that being said, I have to confess that I believe this whole thing is based on your convictions. If you do it, but you feel it is wrong and have to hide it because of that, then maybe that is a conviction that God has given you and you shouldn’t do it. However, if you don’t feel it is wrong and can do it freely, without being addicted, without causing others to stumble, without giving people a false view of who Christ is and who you are in Him, then that is ok. Either way, I don’t believe that we should live off of other people’s convictions. Then we are living out of someone else’s relationship with God and using their oil (You know the story of the ten virgins in Matt. 25:3?  Instead of having their own oil they wanted to use someone else’s.   In our relationship with God we are given spiritual “oil” and we can’t use other’s or, just like 5 of the virgins, we’ll run out eventually) instead of our own. Why does it feel wrong? Because it has always been presented that way? Or because that is what God has given you? I would also like to state that C.S. Lewis smoked a pipe, Martin Luther would teach his students by staying up late with them, drinking beer, and talking about God. Also one of the main criticisms of Martin Luther in his day was that he took bar music and put other words to it for worship hymns. I could site others from today but I will not for the protection of their reputations (since we do still live in a society that hasn’t moved past this subject as a considered sin). If you want to know you can e-mail me or ask me and i’ll give you more. Until next time, later days