1 Corinthians 10:14-22
14 My dear friends, run away from statues of gods. Don’t worship them. 15 I’m talking to people who are reasonable. Judge for yourselves what I say. 16 When we give thanks for the cup at the Lord’s Supper, aren’t we sharing in the blood of Christ? When we break the bread, aren’t we sharing in the body of Christ? 17 Just as there is one loaf, so we who are many are one body. We all eat from the one loaf. 18 Think about the people of Israel. Don’t those who eat the offerings share in the altar? 19 Do I mean that what is offered to a statue of a god is anything? Do I mean that a statue of a god is anything? 20 No! But what is offered by those who worship statues of gods is really offered to demons. It is not offered to God. I don’t want you to be sharing with demons. 21 You can’t drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too. You can’t have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. 22 Are we trying to make the Lord jealous? Are we stronger than he is?
The message here is not to participate in idolatry. I easily overlook the relevance of this passage to my context today. In Paul’s context, food that had been sacrificed to pagan gods was commonly sold in the market. This wasn’t to be a stumbling block to Christians unless buying such meat would be an identification with that pagan ritual and culture.
Similarly I can enjoy activities and events that other’s may worship, so long as I enjoy them to the glory of Jesus Christ there is no issue of conscience. However, I am not to be identified as a worshipper of those things. I can enjoy watching my favourite football team, but I am not to make the same sacrifice of time, commitment and energy that a football worshipper will make. This may mean I appear ‘less’ of a fan.
I may enjoy my favourite band to the glory of God, but I will not worship them by prioritising spending on all their concerts, merchandise and albums.
I may enjoy Indian food, however I will not participate in ritual thanksgiving to a god that my host may worship.
I will not participate as a worshipper of these things because I will worship the Lord God and Him alone. I do not want to communicate that there is any other hope in the universe.
God, help me to see that you alone are my hope and the hope of the World, may I never be led astray or lead others astray by worshipping gods that offer no hope at all.
Written by Andrew Mellor