Daily Devotion: Christian Freedom

1 Corinthians 8:13, Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

This is in regard to the weaker Christian. For a more modern example, if a fellow Christian refrains from alcohol for personal reasons or they mistakenly believe it to be a sin, do not drink alcohol in their presence. Why? As Luther says, “Because I love my brother, and his salvation is incomparably more important to me than my freedom, by which I am free to do what he does not yet understand to be permitted” (Lectures on Galatians, 1519, LW 27:384).

It is not Christian love to flaunt one’s freedom in the face of one who does not fathom their Christian freedom to drink alcohol, eat meat (even bacon), marry (in the clergy), play video games, watch sports, and so on; for God has given us the grace to enjoy the things of this world within their proper use. I find joy in reading a book with a glass of Bourbon, and God delight’s in my joy. I enjoy video games with my brother and friends, and God delights in my joy. Yet because my grandmother does not drink alcohol due to her alcoholic abusive father, I do not drink in her presence out of Christian love for her. Other family, in weaker faith, mistakenly believe it is a sin, so I do not drink in their presence.

Our Christian freedom to enjoy such things is a blessing within their proper uses. Yet this freedom is perceived as lawlessness when it is flaunted before those in weaker faith. Take care not to flaunt your Christian freedom before the weaker Christians, nor to abuse your freedom in drunkenness, orgies, promiscuity, addiction, etc. Take care to honour God and neighbour in all you do.

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