1 Corinthians 8:1-13
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.
I love how timeless the Bible is. Personally I’m grateful I don’t live in a culture or family where sacrificing food – specifically meat – to an idol is normal, but the Corinthians do as do many Christians throughout the world today. I have friends who have had to deal with this very issue. Paul confirms what the Corinthians already know – that idols have no actual existence v4 & that food will not bring us any closer to God v8. He warns that even though some ‘know’ this, it doesn’t give a free pass to go and do it.
The principal I take from this is Pauls’ calling for sensitivity and love when around Christians who aren’t yet at a place of maturity or have an understanding of the freedom that Jesus brings.
Holy Spirit please bring to mind anything that I may be doing in my life that would hurt a friend or my brothers & sisters in Christ who my struggle in areas where I have freedom. I don’t want to cause eternal damage in their walk with you. Amen.
Written by Suzie Hodgson