Everything is permissible (allowable and lawful) for me; but not all things are helpful (good for me to do, expedient and profitable when considered with other things). Everything is lawful for me, but I will not become the slave of anything or be brought under its power.
You say, “For me, everything is permitted”? Maybe, but not everything is helpful. “For me, everything is permitted”? Maybe, but as far as I am concerned, I am not going to let anything gain control over me.
“·I am allowed to do all things [L All things are lawful/permissible for me; C probably a slogan the Corinthians were using; see also 7:1; 8:1, 4; 10:23],” but not all things are ·good for me to do [profitable; beneficial]. “·I am allowed to do all things [L All things are lawful/permissible for me],” but I will not let anything make me its slave.
As a Christian I may do anything, but that does not mean that everything is good for me. I may do everything, but I must not be a slave of anything. Food was meant for the stomach and the stomach for food; but God has no permanent purpose for either. But you cannot say that our physical body was made for sexual promiscuity; it was made for God, and God is the answer to our deepest longings. The God who raised the Lord from the dead will also raise us mortal men by his power. Have you realised the almost incredible fact that your bodies are integral parts of Christ himself? Am I then to take parts of Christ and join them to a prostitute? Never! Don’t you realise that when a man joins himself to a prostitute he makes with her a physical unity? For God says, ‘the two shall be one flesh’. On the other hand the man who joins himself to God is one with him in spirit.
I can do anything I want to if Christ has not said no, but some of these things aren’t good for me. Even if I am allowed to do them, I’ll refuse to if I think they might get such a grip on me that I can’t easily stop when I want to.
I can hear some of you saying, “For me, all things are permitted.” But face the facts: all things are not beneficial. So you say, “For me, all things are permitted.” Here’s my response: I will not allow anything to control me.
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