When I asked two weeks ago “Is the doctrine of total depravity biblical?” my answer was yes. And one thing I meant was that all of our actions apart from saving grace are morally ruined. In other words, everything an unbeliever does is sinful and thus unacceptable to God.
I said that one of my reasons for believing this comes from 1 Corinthians 10:31: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” I asked, “Is it sin to disobey this biblical commandment?” Yes. So, I draw this somber conclusion: it is sin to eat or drink or do anything not for the glory of God. In other words, sin is not just a list of harmful things (killing, stealing, etc). Sin is leaving God out of account in the ordinary affairs of your life; sin is anything you do that you don’t do for the glory of God.
But what do unbelievers do for the glory of God? Nothing. Therefore, everything they do is sinful. That is what I mean by saying that, apart from saving grace, all we do is morally ruined.
Believe and Know
Some of you then asked the practical question: Well, how do you “eat and drink” to the glory of God — say, orange juice for breakfast? One answer is found in 1 Timothy 4:3–5:
[Some] forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.
Orange juice was “to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.” Therefore, unbelievers cannot use orange juice for the purpose God intended — namely, as an occasion for heartfelt gratitude to God from a true heart of faith.
But believers can, and this is how they glorify God. Their drinking orange juice “is made holy by the word of God and prayer.” The word of God teaches us that the juice, and even our strength to drink it, is a free gift of God (1 Corinthians 4:7; 1 Peter 4:11). The prayer is our humble response of thanks from the heart. Believing this truth in the word and offering thanks in prayer is one way we drink orange juice to the glory of God.
Drink in Love
The other way is to drink lovingly. For example, don’t insist on the biggest helping. This is taught in the context of 1 Corinthians 10:33–11:1: “I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”
Everything we do — even drinking orange juice — can be done with the intention and hope that it will be to the advantage of many, that they may be saved.
Let us praise God that we have escaped, by his grace, from the total ruin of all our deeds. And let us do everything, whether we eat or drink, to the glory of our great God!