The apostle now gives some advice on how to handle these things. The specific issue he’s dealing with is the eating of food that had been previously brought as a sacrifice to a pagan temple.
Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”
1 Corinthians 10:25-26
God has placed His Holy Spirit within each of us as believers. If the Bible is silent about it, and the Holy Spirit doesn’t activate our conscience, then don’t over-think it. If it troubles your conscience, then keep away from it.
That’s for you as an individual. There’s more advice once others are involved.
If some unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience.
1 Corinthians 10:27
If an unbeliever invites you to an activity, and your conscience isn’t troubled, then you’re free to go. The fact is that we need to be cultivating healthy relationships with the unchurched. How else will they be affected by the Gospel of Christ?
That was easy, but what about a mixed crowd of both believers and unbelievers?
But if anyone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the man who told you and for conscience’ sake – the other man’s conscience, I mean, not yours. For why should my freedom be judged by another’s conscience? If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?
1 Corinthians 10:28-30
This is where it begins to get complicated. I now have to take my mind off myself and think of the good of others. I can’t just run rough-shod over another person’s conscience and proclaim, “I’m free in Christ to do what I want.”
We have to be sensitive to the maturity level of those around us. We don’t want to be the cause of an offense that hinders their walk with God.
“Well, they just need to grow up!”
Try telling that to a three-year-old. Growth takes time and nurturing. Take your eyes off yourself, and be a blessing rather than a hindrance.
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God – even as I try to please everybody in every way.
1 Corinthians 10:31-33a
The bottom line is that it’s not about me, but God receiving the glory from my life. I should be able to live with a little inconvenience in order for God’s kingdom to advance. Our goal should be that the name of Christ is exalted.
Question: Why is sensitivity to the needs of others so important to God?
© 2019 Nick Zaccardi