Tuesday 11 August 2015

1 Corinthians 8: Meat offered to idols

Now 1 Corinthians 8:
"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."

Food sacrificed to idols was a problem for the early church, specifically the Greco-Roman converts to Christianity, they were worried if meat being sacrificed to an idol would cause a problem for them. Paul says to them in effect, if your conscience tells you not to eat it, don't eat it and don't force someone else to eat it either if it goes against their conscience. In the Old Testament there was a risk of being drawn into worshiping idols thanks to Balaam inciting the Israelites,

If you are aware of the food being sacrificed to idols, what should be the concern is whether or not this will hurt your testimony or even compromise your belief in YHWH. This is something that needs to be watched out for and I am sure Jesus did have this concern even when he said "Eat what is set before you" in Luke 10:8:
"8 Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you."

If you are presented a meal by an unbeliever and your brother and sister is concerned about eating meat offered to idols, it is better to politely turn down the meal for the sake of your brother or sister's conscience.

Be sensitive to the fact that even if you could eat a certain food and have no doubts in your mind if you can eat it, your brother and sister in Christ may not share that same conviction, so it is better for you to abstain in their presence for their sake, lest you cause them to sin. If you love your brother or sister, then build him up.

Let us all take this matter to heart.

Answering Judaism.

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