Saturday, November 8, 2008

Expediency - What is It?

I often hear people talk about how things are authorized or pleasing to God because they are expedient. Expediency is a word we often use loosely. It’s important to know that it is not a source of authority but a term to describe why we do a certain thing.

Expediency is defined as: appropriate to a purpose, convenient, a means to an end.

In our Bible study, we looked at a few important characteristics of expediencies that we must remember before we start using the term to describe our methods of worship or our individual actions. We listed four characteristics of expediencies that must be remembered:

1) It must be lawful.
2) It cannot be specified
3) It must edify
4) It must not offend the conscience of a brother.

Let’s look at these individually and elaborate.

1. An expedient must first be lawful. This is a basic truth in that an expedient authorizes nothing…it must first be proven to be lawful before one can consider it.

2 John 9 -11: Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 10 ¶ If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

Also see 1 Cor 6:12; 10:23 and how Paul describes expediencies.

2. An expedient must not have been specified. When God specifies a certain action, we have no choice to accomplish it His way to be pleasing to him.When God specifies a certain action, we have no choice to accomplish it His way to be pleasing to him. As we have seen in previous posts, Noah was told to make the ark of gopher wood (Gen 6:14). God was very specific and Noah obeyed. He may have found a more convenient wood in the area but it would not have been an authorized expedient to use it since God had already specified a certain wood.

Some examples of specified commands include singing ( Eph 5:19; Col 3:16), baptism or emersion for the remission of sins ( Rom 6:4), and elders overseeing the local church only (1 Peter 5: 1-4).

3. An expedient must edify.

1 Corinthians 14:26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

When we have leeway in our actions for things that are not specified and yet authorized, we need to ensure that they are edifying. We don’t want to be divisive in our actions and cause a split because we want to press our own agendas.

4. An expedient must not offend the conscience of a brother.

1 Corinthians 10:31 - 33 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: 33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

Of course, this only applies to matters in which we have leeway not things specified. We must consider one another in our actions and think of those that may be weaker, more immature or less knowledgeable. To not consider them is to not love them as we should.

Our next class, which I will write about, will cover specific examples of expediencies in action.