Monday, January 30, 2006

Out of A Continuing Thought

Yesterday the lectionary text that we looked at duirng our meditation was 1 Cor. 8. I find that this is a difficult text because we are so distant from the type of circumstances that it is discussing, and we tend to equate much lesser matters - like how I feel about what you're doing or how what you do makes me uncomfortable or offends me - with what was at stake in dining in the temples of idols.

Something that came to me this morning is that we are not just looking at how to form people to be moral, but we are forming them to be like Jesus. For sure, being like Jesus means being moral, but it is possible to form people to be moral without them being like Jesus.

One of the scariest parts of the this passage is the radical freedom that Paul talks about - where he has no problem, per se, with believers eating food off the altars of other gods. The temptation for us is to quash such freedom to make sure that we form people to moral. But if we form people to be moral through legalism (and it certainly can be done - as Paul knew as a pharisee) they are not moral out of the love of God, that is, moral as Jesus was moral.

Morality through legalism is not the same as morality born out of love. To form people in the image of Christ we must talk about radical freedom.


Anonymous said...


Brother, just happened to read your profile. Does your favorite music not cause you confliction? No legalism here...just a reality check.

David M.

Greg Newton said...


No, my enjoyment of music is not, for me, in conflict with my faith. It is not that I leave faith out of music, on the contrary, I try very much to live everything out through faith - listening to music as well.

Each person has to decide for himself/herself what is beneficial when everything is permissible.

You'll have to give me a better way to respond than being anonymous if you want to hear how I understand this.

Jim said...

Morality through legalism? I'm curious what Paul would have said about morality through legislation...

And, I'd like to add, I appreciate someone who loves God and appreciates good music.