Is it OK for a Christian to participate in non-Christian parties and celebrations?
"For you are free, yet you are God's slaves, so don't use your freedom as an excuse to do evil." – 1 Peter 2:16 (NLT)
Christ's victory on the cross and tomb assures us of our freedom in Him. With His blood, He has forever freed us from the curse of sin and death, and has purchased us to be God's own children, the Father's very own beloved.
1 Corinthians 1:30 tells us that Christ "made us pure and holy," and that He "freed us from sin." When He made us holy, He gave us a new identity, a new purpose, and a new pursuit. We are now children of God who have been given new lives in Christ, a life that is meant to glorify God and seek to be like Christ. We are never the same after coming to faith in Christ.
But what about others?
Because we now live in and for Christ, our priorities change. Our choices of friends and activities change. We are called to be holy in all that we do because our Father is holy. This means saying goodbye to things that are not of God.
In light of this, there's one thing we must realise. We as Christians who know that we really don't belong here cannot expect to be taken away from the corruption of the world. We are told to be the salt and light of this world, bringing God-flavours and God-colours to an otherwise tasteless and bland world in desperate need of God's saving power in Christ.
This brings me to the point I want to raise in this article. As the title goes, "Is it OK for a Christian to participate in non-Christian parties and celebrations?" Let's consider a few things before answering that.
Commissioned to preach
In Mark 16:15, the Lord Jesus Christ commanded us to go and preach the Gospel to all of creation. In Matthew 28:18-20, the Lord Jesus commands us to make disciples of all nations.
These two accounts simply show just how much God wants to reach the whole world with the saving power of Christ. The "whole world" includes all sorts of places, including non-Christian gatherings. Of course, preaching the Gospel to all of creation might mean going to non-Christian gatherings to speak to them about the love of God and the truth of the Gospels. Like Christ, we will need to go to places for the purpose of bringing someone to God.
So, is it OK for a Christian to participate in non-Christian parties and celebrations? Simply put, Yes and no.
- It's OK when the event doesn't encourage one to sin.
"For you are free, yet you are God's slaves, so don't use your freedom as an excuse to do evil." (1 Peter 2:16)
- It's OK when the event doesn't promote practices that displease and dishonour God.
"Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them." (Ephesians 5:10-11)
- It's OK when the sole purpose is to reach out to others for Christ.
"For though I am free from all men, I have made myself servant to all, that I might win even more." (1 Corinthians 9:19)
Walk according to God's will
Friends, whether we go to an event outside of church or not, what matters is that we do what pleases the Lord. We fear Him, avoid sin, and be an ambassador of Christ wherever we may be.
"Therefore, whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God ... See then that you walk carefully, not as fools, but as wise men, making the most of the time because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is." (1 Corinthians 10:31; Ephesians 5:15-17)