1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Now concerning food sacrificed to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge; 3but anyone who loves God is known by him.
4Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “no idol in the world really exists,” and that “there is no God but one.” 5Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as in fact there are many gods and many lords— 6yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
7It is not everyone, however, who has this knowledge. Since some have become so accustomed to idols until now, they still think of the food they eat as food offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8“Food will not bring us close to God.” We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. 9But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10For if others see you, who possess knowledge, eating in the temple of an idol, might they not, since their conscience is weak, be encouraged to the point of eating food sacrificed to idols? 11So by your knowledge those weak believers for whom Christ died are destroyed. 12But when you thus sin against members of your family, and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13Therefore, if food is a cause of their falling, I will never eat meat, so that I may not cause one of them to fall.
What a fascinating passage from Paul addressing the real concerns of early church believers. Is it okay for Christians to eat the remaining sacrifice to other gods, especially since they do not believe in them? I appreciate the pastoral presence Paul has for these early Christians, noting their belief is correct, God is indeed God and these others are not but instead of addressing the individual, he turns it back to the real strength of being a Christian, the community. The early Christian is not a Christian alone, they truly need one another, and such support one another. So, care for those who may need it more clearly laid out, your actions should reflect your beliefs and vice versa, even if the meat looks tempting, don’t. I wonder what that temptation would be today, if not a smoked meat? I wonder what actions you may need to refrain from as it would confuse others about what it truly looks like to be a Christian.
Gracious Lord, we wish to see you and lead others to your saving grace. May they experience your love through us, in how we live in our service to you, tenderly and thoughtfully. Amen.