The Law of Expediency governs the Christian’s relationship to all unbelievers. This vital principle, like the Law of Love, also supersedes the Law of Liberty. Paul made this fact very clear when he wrote to the Corinthians in I Corinthians 6:12, “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.“
The apostle knew that exercising Christian liberty was not as important as winning the lost. He referred to the Law of Expediency in his first letter to Corinthians, “For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. 20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; 21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. 22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.“
Paul was practicing “adaptability.” In other words, he did not allow his liberty and personal desires to get in the way of his desire to win men to Christ. The questions the Christian must ask are: “How will this particular action affect my ability to reach unbelievers?” and “Am I a stumblingblock or a steppingstone?”
Conscience, majority standards, and lists of “do’s and don’ts” may produce convictions in the hearts of young people. But nothing must be allowed to replace the Word of God. These Biblical principles hinge on one factor: a young person must love his brother in Christ and love the souls of those without Christ. If these principles are followed, the result will be a more disciplined, fruitful life, full of wholesomeness and reality that will attract unsaved people to the Lord.
Most Christians have a rough time determining what is right and what is wrong. Matters which are defined and condemned by the Word of God present no problem. The Bible says it is wrong to steal, murder, bear false witness, etc. It is there in black and white, easy for anyone to understand. However, there are a lot of practices which the Bible does not mention or even allude to. For instance, the Bible contains no direct references to movies, smoking, drugs, rock music, etc. Certainly there are Biblical principles by which to determine what is right and wrong, but what are these principles?
The United States is a land of liberty. We enjoy more personal freedom than any other group of people in the world. yet we also have hundreds of prisons holding millions of people who have at least temporarily forfeited their freedom. Why did this happen? It happened because these individuals broke the laws of the land. True freedom always has limitations. A horse in a corral has freedom, but its freedom is limited by the wooden barrier. In the same way, we have true freedom in Christ, but our freedom is enclosed by the circle of God’s Word. Anything the Bible says we can do, we have the freedom to do; but anything the Bible says we cannot do is not allowed.
But what about all those things the Bible does not clearly define in black and white, right and wrong? This is where the Law of Liberty speaks. Paul says in I Corinthians 6:12, “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.“
Granted, Paul places limitations on our liberty, and we will get to those later. But he still takes just as much care to state that all things are lawful to the person justified by Christ. That clearly implies that we have the freedom in Christ to do anything which is not condemned or contrary to the Scriptures. Paul emphasizes this liberty of the believer, but warns in Galatians 5:13 that we “use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh.“
In other words, don’t use your Christian liberty just to satisfy your own selfish desires.