This Sunday is the Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The assigned Epistle text for this Sunday is a mixture of encouragement of our freedom in Christ but also a caution in how and when we exercise such freedom. There is an old saying that goes “Just because you can do some doesn’t mean you should.” The sentiment of that saying certainly applies to the assigned text for this Sunday from I Corinthians 8. Earlier in this same book, Paul writes in I Corinthians 6:12, “Everything is permissible for me, but not all things are beneficial. Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything.”
In America, most folks are very quick to assert their freedom/rights. It’s commonplace to hear folks asserting their right to protest, their right to bear arms, their freedom to say anything they want to, even if it’s a lie. All of that is true according to the laws of our country.
However, as followers of Christ, real freedom for us demands a higher, more noble standard. The example in the assigned text this week is a reminder of the biblical standard for real freedom. It says in I Corinthians 8:9, “Be careful however that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.” It is further explained by the Apostle Paul in these words from Galatians 5:13-14, “For you, my brothers (and sisters) were called to freedom; only do not let your freedom become an opportunity for the sinful nature (worldliness, selfishness), but through love serve and seek the best for one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one precept, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF (that is, you shall have an unselfish concern for others and do things for their benefit).” In other words, Real Freedom Makes Us One in Christ.
Join us for worship this week at Covenant by Zoom or Facebook Livestream at 11:30 AM. My sermon will be “Real Freedom Makes Us One” based on 1 Corinthians 8:1-13 and Mark 1:21-28.