#DailyDevotions Don’t Live For Yourselves But For Your Fellow Christians
1 Cor. 8 About the meat sacrificed to idols… 7But not everyone knows this. Some are still so used to an idol they think of the meat they eat as sacrificed to the idol, and their conscience, being weak, is stained with guilt. 8Food will not bring us closer to God. We lose nothing by not eating and gain nothing by eating. 9But be careful, or weak Christians may fall into sin because you do as you please. 10If anyone sees you who have this knowledge lying down to eat in the temple of an idol, won’t you be encouraging him who has a weak conscience to eat the meat sacrificed to idols? 11Then your knowledge is ruining the weak fellow Christian for whom Christ died. 12But when you sin against your fellow Christians in this way and wound their weak consciences, you sin against Christ. 13So if food makes my fellow Christian sin, I will never eat meat — I don’t want to give him a reason for sinning.
So we are finally getting around to talking about food sacrificed to idols. Well since there are really no other gods, it’s hard to commune with nothing, though Paul elsewhere says eating food sacrificed at pagan altars is communicating with demons. So food in and of itself is good. Jesus even declared all foods are clean. The problem came in with new Christians who came out of paganism seeing Christians eating food sacrificed to idols and they either 1. thought it was ok to commune with idols or 2. were offended by those eating such food, in either case their faith was weakened and they fell into sin.
So we come up with a principle that while many things may be legal, ethical and even moral, if they were tied to a sinful life beforehand and lead Christians to sin, then out of Christian love we shouldn’t engage in those behaviors, particularly around said Christians. In our Christian freedom we don’t want to leadt people to sin even though we know what we are doing is perfectly fine. We don’t want to wound weak consciences.
Paul also says the same in Romans 15, “But we who are strong must be patient with the weaknesses of the weak and not just please ourselves. 2Every one of us should please his neighbor for his good, to help him grow. 3Even Christ didn’t please Himself, but it happened to Him as it is written: ‘Those who insult You insult Me.’” He picks up the theme again here, 1Co 9 “22To weak persons I became weak to win the weak. I’ve been everything to everyone so that in every way I might save some of them. 23I’m doing everything for the good news in order to have a share of what it gives.” Christ Jesus sacrificed himself for us weak ones, and we’ve all been the weak ones, completely helpless to save ourselves. As those who have been saved by Christ, we sacrifice our rights and freedoms to lift up, build up, and strengthen those who are weaker brothers. Some may try to take advantage of this claiming to be the weaker brothers, but those who make the claim are not. We ourselves see who is being harmed by our acting out on our freedoms. Over time, we educate and train those weaker in the faith so they may enjoy their freedom in Christ as well. We are not called though to please ourselves but Jesus Christ who saved us.
Heavenly Father in our great weakness, you sent your son Jesus Christ to save us, taking upon himself our weakness. Grant that we with faith in his work for us may in the same way take on the weakness of those Christians around us who need our strength. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.