1 Corinthians 10:23 is very similar to 1 Corinthians 6:12. There, the subject was wrong sex acts; here, it is meat that someone has offered to a false god.
Really, the argument was about freedom. God has saved his people from the evil forces that formerly controlled their lives. So, they are free. But that fact does not give them an excuse to do whatever they want. God did not make them free so that they could act in a wicked manner. They certainly should not allow their emotions to control their lives. People who do that are not free. They are behaving like slaves to their own emotions.
Paul repeats the same phrase twice in both verses. That phrase means: ‘I can do whatever I want.’ It seems, perhaps, that the Christians in Corinth were often repeating that phrase to each other. For them, it expressed their joy in the freedom that God had given them. Paul did not argue with that statement, but he always considered it necessary to add other words to it.
Yes, of course Christians can do the things that they want to do. But they must always ask if they are behaving in a helpful and useful manner. They should certainly not do anything that is not good, right and proper.
Yes, they can do what they want. But they must think about the results of their actions. Not every action will help people to trust God; some actions can ruin other people’s confidence in God.
Christians should always use their freedom to serve God. He wants to guide and to direct their lives. He can show them what they should do. If they obey him, their actions will be good, useful and helpful. And then Christians will achieve the results that God wants in their lives.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.