BE READY TO GIVE UP!
Often Lord, I grow complacent and reticent. Keep me alert to your Word and ready to live for you today.
Read I Corinthians 8
Concerning Food Sacrificed to Idols
8 Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. 2 Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. 3 But whoever loves God is known by God.[a]
4 So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world” and that “There is no God but one.” 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.
7 But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. 8 But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.
9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? 11 So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 12 When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.
- 1 Corinthians 8:3 An early manuscript and another ancient witness think they have knowledge do not yet know as they ought to know. 3 But whoever loves truly knows.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectUse Psalm 119:169 to help you prepare to listen to God.
Most meat available to ordinary Corinthians would have first been offered to idols. Should Christians eat it, either as part of the big social occasion or even privately at home? Well, what would you say? Notice where Paul begins (vs 1–3). How would you explain the phrase: ‘love builds up’? These three words hold the solution. Along with tentmakers Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18:2–4), sailors, traders, fishermen, herdsmen, builders, town officials, rich and poor may all be part of the church in Corinth. All with different backgrounds, and more, less or no understanding of the things of faith (v 7).
‘It’s not actually about the food itself and where we get it. After all, ultimately it comes from God,’ says Paul (v 6). ‘It’s about the message our eating of the food communicates to other Christians’ (vs 7,10). Although we might well respond, ‘That’s their problem!’, that’s not the way Paul sees it (v 13). No, it’s our problem. Love means sacrifice – giving up for the sake of others what we might otherwise hold on to for ourselves. What might this look like in our own choices, where Christians don’t agree on the rights or wrongs of something?
Should we be freer on some things so we have more opportunities to share the love of Jesus? Or should we restrict ourselves more, so that less mature Christians don’t get the wrong idea? A tough balance.
Gracious Lord, I need wisdom and direction from you, as I live my daily life. Grant me sensitivity toward other others as I make decisions on difficult matters.
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