Don’t let liberty cause stumbling!
Scripture reading for August 13th: 1st Corinthians 8:1-13
“It was for freedom that Christ has set us free.” (Galatians 5:1) The Corinthians were enjoying freedom in Christ, but had more questions about how to exercise this freedom. There were many idol temples in Corinth where people sacrificed animals. This meat was often cut up and sold in the markets to make money. The Corinthians had questions about whether or not they had liberty to eat this meat.
“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.” (1st Corinthians 8:4) Paul told them the truth about the idols. They were really nothing at all. God, the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ were worthy of praise. All things come from God alone. The people of the world have many ‘gods’ and seek to worship them in ignorance.
“But not everyone knows this. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having been sacrificed to an idol, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do. Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.” (1st Corinthians 8:7-9) The stronger believers understood that the idols were nothing. They knew that eating that meat sacrificed to idols wouldn’t pollute their faith. But the weaker believers still had fresh memories of sacrificing to idols. They felt defiled when they ate. The responsibility was placed on the stronger to limit their liberties for the sake of their weaker brothers! They were not to flaunt their knowledge because it was not loving towards their brothers!
The law of love is again used as the rule of faith and practice. Stronger Christians limit what they are free to do so that no younger or weaker believer’s faith is destroyed by their liberty! Paul went on to emphasize this, “Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.” (1st Corinthians 8:13) “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” (1st Corinthians 8:1b) Check out your love level today!