Friday after the Seventh Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 10:14-33 (NKJV)
10:14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak as to wise men; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 17 For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.
18 Observe Israel after the flesh: Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? 19 What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? 20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons. 22 Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?
23 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. 24 Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.
25 Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience’ sake; 26 for “the earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness.”
27 If any of those who do not believe invites you to dinner, and you desire to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no question for conscience’ sake. 28 But if anyone says to you, “This was offered to idols,” do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience’ sake; for “the earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness.” 29 “Conscience,” I say, not your own, but that of the other. For why is my liberty judged by another man’s conscience? 30 But if I partake with thanks, why am I evil spoken of for the food over which I give thanks?
31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
Paul reaffirms the concept of Christian freedom. Christians are to live as free as possible, except when their freedom causes sin in themselves or others. Sitting and dining in a pagan temple is going too far. That is treating one altar like another and mixing religions, as if all were the same. But food that has no obvious connection to false worship is quite alright. It was common for meat sacrificed in the temples to be offered for sale in the marketplace without any distinguishing marks. Sacrificed meat would not have been obviously different from non-sacrificed meat.
Christians were to be radically different from the Jews who had to investigate the origin of all types of food. Jews maintained kosher dietary laws and separated clean from unclean foods. Christians were to be consciously distinct from the Jews in that they could eat anything. So Paul basically says, “Don’t ask fussy questions about where things come from.”
Perhaps a modern example would be not to bother about whether or not the Mormons own the Marriott hotel chain or Coca-Cola, just use the products in good conscience. No one believes you are advocating Mormonism by staying in a Marriott hotel, but don’t go and worship at a Mormon temple.
Christians are under no obligation to follow the Old Testament ceremonial law or Jewish traditions. If they wish to accept a pagan’s social invitation, they are free to do so. The Christian has freedom in the Gospel to associate with sinners and unbelievers without fear of corruption.
We pray: Lord help us to rightly discern when to use our freedom. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.