Reading: 1 Corinthians 10
23 "I have the right to do anything," you say-but not everything is beneficial. "I have the right to do anything"-but not everything is constructive. 24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. 25 Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, 26 for, "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it."
27 If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. 28 But if someone says to you, "This has been offered in sacrifice," then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience. 29 I am referring to the other person's conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another's conscience? 30 If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for? 31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God-- 33 even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. (1 Cor. 10:23-33 NIV)
Reflecting and Thinking
The first part of today's chapter uses Old Testament events to illustrate how God cares for his people when they are focused on spiritual realities and doing his will. It also shows the result of selfishness and grumbling. Focusing on rights does not move us closer to God. Paul returns one more time to the question of "idol meat." A comparison of the idol feasts and the Lord's Supper, along with an example from the Old Testament sacrificial system, shows that the wisest course is to distance oneself from every hint of idolatry.
The principle Paul gives has already been stated in the book: everything permissible may not be beneficial. Some things permissible may not be constructive, and may in fact be destructive. Some things permissible do not operate for the good of others. Paul's conclusion concerning the meat offered to idols is interesting. If you eat unknowingly, do not worry, go ahead and eat. If someone makes a point to tell you, do not eat. Do all for God's glory, do not cause others to stumble, seek the good of as many as possible.
What impact would the use of these biblical principles have on Christian relationships and the contemporary church? In a world focused on personal rights, think about how the church becomes counter-cultural with the application of these principles and the demonstration of a love that puts others before self. What things in today's world appear harmless to some Christians but cause concern for many other Christians, that is, some believe they can participate but others believe it is forbidden? Based on 1 Corinthians 9-10, what is the biblical approach to such matters?
Dear God, we are grateful this day that we can approach your heavenly throne and pray in the name of Jesus. We come to you seeking wisdom as we try to understand what is best in those areas that present challenges similar to those addressed in this section of the Bible. Amen.