1 Corinthians 8
-Paul answers a question now in chapter 8 concerning food offered to idols and the right to eat it. The overriding concept here is that strong believers with a healthy view of who they are in Christ apart from the Law need to consider their weaker brothers and sisters so as to not be a stumbling block causing them to sin in their conscience.
-Paul purports the fact that all of them posses knowledge. This knowledge if one is not careful will puff up rather than do the work of love in building up (1 Corinthians 8:1). This important and constant theme in this letter is reiterated to stress the fruit of humility and love so that the blessings of the Lord can flow and people can be known by God (1 Corinthians 8:3). *Application* To be known by the Lord is paramount to our eternal state (Matthew 7:20-24). Paul says here that our love of God is an important factor in being known by God, which is the same response Jesus gave when asked what the greatest commandment was (Matthew 22:36-38, Mark 12:28-30, Luke 10:25-28). This is also the great commandment in the Torah (Deuteronomy 6:4-8). It’s really simple when we break it down. Love God (which means you will follow and obey all He commands out of gratitude and devotion) and He will make Himself known to you in a relationship that will abide forever. This is the connection with our Maker we so desire and crave! Beautiful endings!
-Paul goes on to make the point that there are actually no such things as idols (1 Corinthians 8:4). They are mirages that placate and temporarily appease the weak in faith. The true spiritual believers know that there is only “One God, the Father, from which are all things and for whom we exist, and One Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist (1 Corinthians 8:6).” Because of this, the strong in faith need not worry about what they eat in regard to meat offered to idols at the essential level. Meat tainted by idols in the pagan culture’s practices had really no affect on them as to power or Law. The situation in Corinth, and many Hellenistic cities like this, was to offer meat to the public at a reduced rate after it had gone through the process of being offered to the mythological gods in their pagan rituals. The Corinthian church was wondering if it was kosher to purchase and eat such meat as believers in Christ Jesus. Paul is basically telling them that it is ok as long as you don’t become a stumbling block to your brother or sister. If you do offend them by partaking of this meat, being aware of their position in weakness, you sin against God and them by wounding their conscience (1 Corinthians 8:12). Paul says if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat it because his love for his brother pertaining to his well-being in conscience is so much more important (1 Corinthians 8:13). The key point is in verse 9, “But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.” *Application* This is an important principle for us to consider in our current climate in society. We may not have much meat offered to idols (although it is becoming more apparent in some Asian places of commerce), but we can offend weaker brothers and sisters with environments that are temptations to sin. For example, if I know a brother has a problem being tempted by alcohol, the worst possible place for me to take him would probably be a pro sporting event (say a baseball game). While there is nothing wrong in my conscience to going and enjoying a good ball game since I don’t drink and have no desire for it, I must consider my weaker brother and putting him in a position to be enticed to sin by drinking too much. The same could be said for some movies and such. We must consider the impact we are making on those who are around us. Never become a stumbling block to your brother or sister. While we have rights, we must live by the law of love in all cases.
Verse to Memorize- 1 Corinthians 8:9