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God's Word for Today 1 Corinthians 8

June 16, 2012


Paul makes a contrast between knowledge and love.   Knowledge can make a person proud.   There was a problem in those days, because idolatry was so common, most of the meat that you would buy in the marketplace had first a portion of it been offered unto the idols, the pagan gods. When they would butcher their meat they would take portions of it and offer it as a burnt offering unto their gods, and then the priests would get their part and the rest would be given back to the person, and oftentimes it would be taken to the market and sold in the market.

Many Christians had great difficulty with their own conscience in eating meat that had been offered as a sacrifice to a pagan god. This really troubled them. But there were others in Corinth who boasted of their knowledge, "Well, that is nothing. That is just a stone and not a god, so it doesn't make any difference. I have enough knowledge to realize that that is nothing at all and therefore I can eat the meat without being troubled in my conscience over it."

So, Paul is addressing those that are taking that liberty, because of their knowledge, and offending the weaker brethren.  Many grew up worshipping this idol.   Just like here, many grew up worship Buddha and living in fear of the spirits, making offerings to the monks and at the spirit houses. The Corinthians grew up eating meat in the temple of the idol. They would have restaurants there, and they would offer meat in a ceremony and sacrifice to the idol, and then they would roast it and would go in and eat the meat in the temple and fellowship, or worship, the idol or the god. Now, you have embraced Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, but having come out of the pagan practice of eating the meat offered in sacrifices to these idols, you have great difficulty continuing that, because for so long you did eat it thinking you were eating in worship to this particular idol, so that as a Christian now it offends your conscience. It bothers you to do it. It gets your conscience. So, Paul said, "Unto this time there are those that are having trouble with this in their conscience, and because their conscience is weak, they are defiled."   Now of course we wouldn’t go take a Coke or bottles of water offered at a spirit house and drink it, even though we know the spirit is not going to drink it.   We wouldn’t take the pineapple offered there, both because we might cause a former Buddhist to stumble and we might offend those who are still practicing Buddhism.  

Here is another example how we must be careful about a weaker brother or sister.  Some Christians feel at liberty to drink alcohol.  But here are those who have been alcoholics, who now have accepted Christ, they have been delivered from alcoholism, but he goes to your house and there you are drinking.  Perhaps you have been a Christian for a long time.   What does he think?  “if he can drink, then I guess it is all right for me to drink." But yet, he knows it is wrong, because he knows the problem he has with it, but he is decides to go ahead and do it, because he you’re your liberty. And yet, when he does it, he has this conscience that is just bothering him. And I say, "Well, I have superior spiritual knowledge. I understand the scriptures. And I understand this," and I go on and say, "Hey, look, I have the freedom to do it," You could actually be an instrument to destroy this weaker brother because of your exercising your knowledge or liberty that you have. I could do a lot of things I don't do. The reason why I don't do them is I do not want to be an offense unto a weaker brother and destroy his relationship with God because of my own liberty in Christ. This is what Paul is saying to the Corinthians. And he is telling them that they should be careful in their exercise of their own freedom in Christ, that they would not use it in such a way as it could be a stumbling block to a weaker brother.  For more see

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