WFT- licit

03 July 2010

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for March 4th was licit.

conforming to the requirements of the law : not forbidden by law : permissible

In their "Did you know?" section they provided this:

"Licit" is far less common than its antonym "illicit," but you probably won’t be surprised to learn that the former is the older of the two. Not by much, though: the first known use of "licit" in print is from 1483, whereas "illicit" shows up in print for the first time in 1506. For some reason "illicit" took off while "licit" just plodded along. When "licit" appears these days it often modifies "drugs" or "crops." Meanwhile, "illicit" shows up before words like "thrill" and "passion" (as well as "gambling," "relationship," "activities," and, of course, "drugs" and "crops.") The Latin word "licitus," meaning "lawful," is the root of the pair; "licitus" itself is from "lic?re," meaning "to be permitted."

A previously noted M-W Word of the Day, proscribe, refers to those things forbidden by law. Licit means the exact opposite: something that is not forbidden by law. One of the first things that comes to mind is this passage of Scripture speaking about the fruit of the Spirit:

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. (Galatians 5:19-25)

The fruit [singular, not plural] of the Spirit is licit.


Paul writes to Timothy and warns of a coming apostasy:

But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in 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 gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer. (1 Timothy 4:1-5)

Note what Paul provides as criteria for those things that are licit: the Word of G-d and prayer. So what does the Word of G-d say about marriage and food? Marriage While marriage outside the family of G-d is prohibited (Deuteronomy 7:3, 2 Cor 6:14-15) marriage in general is licit and promoted by Scripture. Food G-d forbade several types of animals to be eaten as food (see Leviticus 11) but He did not prohibit the eating of chicken, cows, or several other types of animals... except for animals that die on their own (Deuteronomy 14:21). So who did forbid marriage and foods? The Gnostics. Their teaching was that an evil god had bound holy and pure spirit beings into wicked bodies of flesh. Anything the flesh enjoyed was contrary to our spiritual nature and should thus be avoided. They had a very dualistic view of the world in which the god that created our spirit was good and the god that created our flesh was evil. Both gods were equal in power and authority. It was good versus evil, yin versus yang, "god" versus "the devil". Scripture (on the other hand) tells us that there is only one G-d and that He is creator of all things both spiritual and physical and Who is sovereign over all things. Satan is a created being with great limitations. He had to get permission from G-d to test Job. He sought permission from G-d to sift Peter (Luke 22:31). He is a finite creature subject to the authority of G-d and is in no way G-d's equal. In his letter to Timothy, Paul was writing against these heretical gnostic teachings. What other things are licit according to Scripture? Worship of G-d on any day of the week. G-d made the seventh day (i.e. Saturday) the Sabbath and made it holy (Exodus 20:11) but He did not prohibit worship on any other day of the week. Prayer and petition to G-d at any time. G-d defined specific daily sacrifices (Leviticus 6:20) and prayer was associated with them but He did not prohibit prayer at any other time (Ephesians 6:18, 1 Timothy 2:1, 1 Thessalonians 5:17). If you can think of others to share, please do! Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:17) <><

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Yom Chamishi, 8 Nisan, 5783

Thursday, March 30, 2023


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