1 Corinthians 10:14-22
14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf. 18 Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? 19 Do I mean then that food sacrificed to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. 22 Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
It can’t have been easy for the early Christians in Corinth, surrounded as they were by idols and pagan temples like the Temple of Venus, the goddess of love. Many it seems were still taking part in pagan feasts, even though they were also taking communion. Some were thinking “well the idol has no power and is meaningless, so the food served at its feasts is just normal food. No harm done if I eat that.” Paul however tells it like it is – this is in fact communion with demons and devil worshipping.
The contrast is with taking part in Christ’s feast, communion, with the believers. By participating in communion, they were aligning themselves with God, and becoming one body in Him. Just as we do today, when we take part in communion, we take part in Jesus’ death for us as we share in symbols of his spilt blood and broken body. This way we align ourselves with Him, effectively putting up our hand and saying “I am Christ’s! I belong to him.”
The question this passage raises for me is “What do I trust?” Is it in Christ’s death for me, or in something that has taken its place? Am I hedging my bets like these Christians Paul was warning, apparently belonging to Jesus, while in practice their faith lay in something else?
If I belong to Christ, I can’t belong to something else as well. Where is my heart? Is it open to God, or do I just add him into my life when times are tough? Do I long to see his will done on earth?
Paul’s warning in verse 12 reminds me that I need to guard against something taking the place of Jesus in my life.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, that your peace which is above everything I can know or imagine is guarding my heart and mind. I pray your peace will guard against anything which could take your place in my life. Amen
Written by Claire Moore