Daily Reading: Psalms 119:73-176; 1 Corinthians 8
Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies. (1 Corinthians 8:1, NASB95)
Meat sacrificed to idols may seem irrelevant to us, but the underlying issue that Paul is addressing is significant for believers of all times. The Corinthians thought that their monotheistic understanding would enable them to eat a sacrifice in a pagan temple without doing any harm.
- There are no gods but Yahweh (1 Cor. 8:4-6).
- Meat doesn’t commend us to God (1 Cor. 8:8).
- Being sacrificed to idols doesn’t affect the meat.
- Therefore, we’re free to eat.
However, Paul counters that not all people have this understanding, and if your actions cause another believer, who does not have such knowledge, to eat, they will sin against their conscience (1 Cor. 8:10-12). Causing harm to another believer is sinning against Christ. Thus you have a responsibility to think of others and not just yourself. Later on in 1 Corinthians 10:19-23, Paul attacks their knowledge and liberty to eat, explaining that eating in a pagan temple is participating in the worship of demons, which would be blasphemous for a Christian, who partakes at the table of the Lord. If food causes his brother to stumble, Paul says that he will never eat meat again (1 Cor. 8:13). Knowledge is extremely important, but a person can’t claim to truly know God unless the relationship is lived out. When people say that they know God, their knowledge will be revealed by how well they love Him (1 Cor. 8:3). Knowledge alone cannot be the main motivator of our actions, otherwise, we will become arrogant. Rather, love is the main motivator, which will spur us on to honour and obey God, edify others and not simply please ourselves. Have you given up your rights so that you may not cause someone else to stumble? Do you take pride in your knowledge of God or in your God, who is love?