Lev 25; 1 Cor 10; Psalm 90
Moving on from yesterday’s argument about not living in such a way to cause offence to the weaker brethren, Paul addresses a further issue, that of licentiousness. “All things are lawful” – his intelocutors tell him – yes, he responds, “but not all things are beneficial. The Church in Corinth, unlike say that in Galatia, is rife with people hearing the message of freedom in Christ, yet in effect rejecting it, by not entering into the new life. Using it as an excuse Not to turn from wickedness.
Paul points them back to that prefiguring of salvation, the Exodus – and how the Israelites used their freedom to abase themselves. This Freedom we have in Christ is to grow into the fullness of the Image of God. We have been set free from all that kept s from being fully human. Paul argues strongly, do not allow your freedom either to be a stumbling block to others, OR a vehicle for a life of license.
He asks them to consider who they are, and his focus is the Eucharist – the centre of our shared life – ‘Are we not in this participating in the very life of Christ?’, Paul asks. How can we therefore at the same time live lives that continue to participate in the worship of things that are not? ‘You cannot participate in the life of God and of demons’
As there are those who use their ‘knowledge’ to offend their brethren, so there are others, or indeed the same people, who use their knowledge to live not to the Lord but to themselves. We are back in the garden – the temptation to be like God – to rule our own lives.