The Test of Expedience
by Henry M. Morris, Ph.D.
“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” (1 Corinthians 6:12)
Christians are saved by the grace of God, not by works of righteousness. Therefore, in a sense, they are free to do whatever they please. “All things are lawful unto me.” The Christian, however, is under a higher law, the law of love and of seeking to please and honor his Savior and Lord.
Therefore, when a question arises as to whether a certain act is right or wrong, the decision should be based on how the act impacts the cause of Christ. Does it help or hinder in the winning of the lost or in edifying the believer? Does it honor the Lord and His Word or bring reproach against His truth? For example, Paul concluded he could not afford to “be brought under the power of any” practice (e.g., drinking, smoking, gambling) that might limit the power of God over his actions and decisions.
In a similar passage, Paul says, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not” (1 Corinthians 10:23). Thus, nothing is expedient for the Christian that does not edify (that is, “build up”) spiritually either himself or someone else.
In a similar vein, he said elsewhere that “there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. . . . Let not then your good be evil spoken of . . . Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another” (Romans 14:14, 16, 19).
This test of expediency, therefore, if applied sincerely by the believer in terms of advancing or hindering the purposes of God in Christ, can be of great help in decision making regarding doubtful issues. HMM