Christian Living in the World (Discipleship Training)
Christian Living in the World: Not all of life is lived within the sphere of our private faith, or even within the sphere of our life in the church. Christians must engage regularly with other people in a number of other contexts. Sometimes, we will interact with believers, and sometimes not. Sometimes, we will agree with them, and sometimes not. Sometimes, other people will have exercise power, whether lawfully or unlawfully.
The Bible does not give as many details about our dealings with the wider world as we find about God, about sin, or salvation through faith in Christ. Nevertheless, the Bible does identify major principles that mark out the boundaries of Christian living. These principles do not answer every question that will arise as we seek to live faithful lives before the Lord. Nevertheless, these principles should shape our thinking, as we prayerfully seek the Lord’s wisdom for how to act in any given situation.
To discern the broad principles for Christian liberty, oaths and vows, the civil magistrate, and marriage and divorce.
Read and discuss:
- 1 Corinthians 10:23–33: Christian liberty is for the sake of seeking the advantage of others, not ourselves.
- Galatians 5:13: We should use our freedom to serve one another through love.
- 1 Peter 2:16: Truly free people use their freedom to serve God, not as a cover-up for evil.
- Matthew 5:37: Do not make oaths beyond simply saying “Yes” or “No.”
- Romans 13:1–7: God has indeed given the civil magistrate authority.
- Acts 5:29: The authority of the magistrate is not absolute; we must obey God rather than men.
- Matthew 19:3–9: Divorce is not permissible, except in cases of adultery.
- 1 Corinthians 7:15: Divorce is also permissible when one person has been abandoned, and the situation cannot be remedied.
- 1 Corinthians 7:10–14: Otherwise, believers should remain married—even to unbelievers
Read and discuss:
- What does Christian liberty give us freedom from? What does not fall under the heading of Christian liberty?
- What does the Bible teach us about oaths?
- How does the Christian rightly live under the authority of the civil magistrate? How far does the authority of the magistrate go?
- What are the only just causes for divorce? Why not others?
- Remember that the decisions we make as believers will not always have a clear proof-text from the Bible, but will depend on deep wisdom from the full counsel of God. Therefore, renew your efforts to study Scriptures.
- As Christians we have liberty, but we are commanded to use our liberty to seek the advantage of others. Is there an area where you have been wrongly using your freedom to justify seeking your own advantage, instead of that of another’s?
- Consider how your attitudes and actions toward marriage? Do the Scriptures correct any part of how you have related to marriage? If so, what do you need to correct?
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