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Is It Right?

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Is it Right?

One of the questions often asked by young Christians is: "Is it right for a believer to go to dances or to the movies, to play cards, to smoke, to drink, or to participate in other pleasures and amusements?"

I know that a great many young believers are troubled by similar questions. They find that certain practices are clearly condemned in the Bible. But after much searching, they also find that there are many other practices, common in the world today, which are not mentioned. It is the purpose of this paper to provide the young believer with a series of standards which may help him or her to decide whether or not to engage in a questionable activity.

1. First of all, is it distinctly forbidden by the Lord for believers today? If it is, avoid it as you would a deadly plague. If you do not know, don't do it until you have had a chance to find out (1 Thessalonians 5:22).

2. Then, is there any glory for God in it? In 1 Corinthians 10:31, we read this plain statement: "Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." Before you engage in the activity in question, can you honestly ask for God's blessing upon it, believing that He will be honored through your participation?

3. Is it "of the world?" If it is, then it is not "of Christ." He said concerning His disciples, "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world" (John 17:16). He was not "of the world" at all. He was in it, but not of it 1 John 2:15-17).

4. Would the Lord have done it? He has left us an example that we should follow His steps (1 Peter 2:21).

5. Would you like to be found doing it when the Lord returns? Someone has wisely remarked, "Don't do anything, say nothing, or go anywhere that would cause you shame if the Lord should come!" (1 John 2:28).

6. Can you feel free to do it when you remember that God, the Holy Spirit, dwells within you? "Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" (1 Corinthians 6:19). (See also Ephesians 4:30).

7. Is it fitting conduct for a child of God? When a king's son acts in an unworthy manner, he brings disgrace on his father's name. So does the Christian who behaves in an unbecoming way (Romans 2:24; Colossians 1:10).

8. What effect will your conduct have on others? Will it be a good testimony to the unsaved, or will they decide that there is really no difference between a Christian and an unbeliever (2 Corinthians 5:17)? Also, will it cause someone who is young in the faith to stumble? The apostle Paul warned that no man should put "a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way" (Romans 14:13).

9. Finally, is there the least bit of doubt in your mind about it? If so, then don't do it, for "he that doubteth is damned (condemned)," for "whatsoever is not of faith is sin" (Romans 14:23).

In connection with this subject of what a Christian may or may not do, it is well to remember that we "are not under the law, but under grace" (Romans 6:14, 15). This does not mean that we may do as we like, but rather it means we want to do what God likes because He has done so much for us. We do not avoid worldly pleasures and amusements because we have to, but because we want to. The reason we want to is because Christ died for us, and now our ambitions are to live in a manner that will please Him." We love Him, because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19). (See 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15). God does not say, "If you keep away from sinful pleasures, you will be a Christian." But He does say, in effect, to the believer, "You are a Christian! Now live in a way that is consistent with your high calling" (Ephesians 4:1).

It is possible that a Christian may forget his dignified position, and go in for the things of the world. In such a case, God will bring him back by loving correction, just as a shepherd brings back a wandering sheep by placing his crook around the neck. Thus, if God's grace is forgotten by the believer, he will be restored by God's chastening hand.

W. MacD.

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