Wednesday after the Seventh Sunday after Trinity
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 8:1-13 (NKJV)
8:1 Now concerning things offered to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. 2 And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know. 3 But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him.
4 Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one. 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.
7 However, there is not in everyone that knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8 But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse.
9 But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. 10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols? 11 And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 12 But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.
Can Christians eat meat sacrificed to idols? Does this include Christians in the idolatry? Paul says, “an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one.” Even if other beings can be called “gods” under certain circumstances, such as in Psalm 82:6, and even if the heathen made their ancestors “gods,” there is only one God, the Father and His eternal Son Jesus Christ. Paul sees that the issue isn’t about eating this meat, but about what such eating was doing to the conscience of Christians whose faith was weak. These Christians would see the knowledgeable Christians eating meat previously sacrificed to idols and be scandalized, imagining that they were partaking in idolatry.
Christian freedom is not always easy to understand and practice. Those who have understanding must be careful of those who are weak in understanding. If meat scandalized a brother, Paul would never eat it again. So we are to be careful not to use our freedom to scandalize others. However, neither are we to allow the weaker brother to remain in his weak state. Thus Paul can write that those with knowledge should temper their knowledge with love, while those who are weak should consider that there is, in fact, only one God. Let us love the brethren so we neither scandalize them in matters of the faith, nor allow them to remain in their weakness.
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.