“Everything is permissible for me”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12

When you read Old Testament history you realize there is something seriously wrong. God’s people were constantly going astray and following foreign gods. Neither the threat of punishment nor the reward of blessing was enough to keep God’s people from disobeying him.

In the beginning God told Adam not to eat from “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:17). God did not intend for us to have the knowledge of good and evil, being in relationship with God would be enough to keep us from evil.

However Adam did eat and now tend to think in terms of good and evil. Is drinking alcohol, surfing the internet, playing computer games good or evil? If we do those things we think are good we congratulate ourselves and become self-righteous. If we do those things we think are evil we feel guilty and condemn ourselves. God didn’t intend for us to be self-righteous or self-condemning.

“’This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,’ declares the Lord. ‘I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.’” (Jeremiah 31:33). God’s laws are to be written on our hearts and once they are written there, we don’t need to think in terms of good and evil.

So the Christian life is not about strictly adhering to a code of conduct because Paul tells us that everything is permissible. However it is important to check our hearts and work out what is beneficial and what is not.