“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.
— 1 Corinthians 10:23
Some sermons contain a phrase so memorable that even years later, you can quickly recall it. One of those phrases for me: “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this repeated in my head. I am convinced that it is straight from the Holy Spirit, given to me because I am a child of God.
The sad truth is that there are so many times that I use my liberty to justify my bad behavior. I say things I don’t need to say, I do things I don’t need to do, and I think things that are too embarrassing to even mention. The justification for me is simple: I’m a grown man, and I can do whatever I want to do. I reason to myself, “I will simply manage the consequences when they come upon me.” The Bible calls that person a fool. Guilty as charged!
Because of God’s grace, the Holy Spirit swoops in to lead me back to the truth: Just because we are completely forgiven and free from the law does not mean it is wise, or even acceptable, to sin. Sin is destructive and inconsistent with our spiritual identities. It destroys our witness, our relationships, and our peace of mind. It can destroy our bodies and our mental health. Can you sin? Sure. But always remember, just because you can doesn’t mean you should. You weren’t spiritually birthed to recklessly flaunt Christ’s victory over sin. Doing so is contrary to everything a member of the family of God should be.
Now read this next part slowly because your eternal destiny may hinge on it. If this truth does not resonate with you, then there is a sober reality that you must confront.
“No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.”
— 1 John 3:9–10