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 was I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
Christians have communion with the very Body and Blood of Christ at the Lord’s Table, therefore they are not to have communion with a demon at a pagan table. Such public idolatry is sin and sends, at best, an inconsistent confession. Christians can buy meat at the marketplace and eat as guests in others’ homes without harm to consciences. However, if the host discloses that the main course was sacrificed to an idol, the Christian isn’t to eat, for the sake of the host’s conscience, not just his own. Christian freedom is tempered by love for others so that confused consciences are not vexed.
The rubric for Christian freedom is simply: “Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.” The reason this is the standard for Christian living is because this is how Christ manifested Himself to us. The bruised reed He did not break. The smoldering wick He did not snuff out. He came not to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom. Christ did not seek His own good. After all, what could He have gained from becoming man? Rather, He came to serve us by atoning for our sins and earning a perfect righteousness for all who believe in Him. Christ still serves us by giving us what is profitable for us: His absolution, and fellowship with His very Body and Blood for forgiveness and strengthening.
Prayer: O God, whose never-failing providence ordereth all things both in Heaven and Earth, we humbly beseech Thee to put away from us all hurtful things and give to us those things which be profitable for us; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.