For the sake of their conscience
1 Corinthians 10:14-33 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak as to wise people; you then, judge what I say. 16 Is the cup of blessing which we bless not a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is the bread which we break not a sharing in the body of Christ? 17 Since there is one loaf, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one loaf. 18 Look at the people of Israel; are those who eat the sacrifices not partners in the altar? 19 What do I mean then? That food sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, but I say that things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become partners with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22 Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? We are not stronger than He, are we?
23 All things are permitted, but not all things are of benefit. All things are permitted, but not all things build people up. 24 No one is to seek his own advantage, but rather that of his neighbor. 25 Eat anything that is sold in the meat market without asking questions, for the sake of conscience; 26 for the earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains. 27 If one of the unbelievers invites you and you want to go, eat anything that is set before you without asking questions, for the sake of conscience. 28 But if anyone says to you, “This is meat sacrificed to idols,” do not eat it, for the sake of that one who informed you and for the sake of conscience; 29 Now by “conscience” I do not mean your own, but the other person’s; for why is my freedom judged by another’s conscience? 30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I slandered about that for which I give thanks?
31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all things for the glory of God. 32 Do not offend Jews or Greeks, or the church of God; 33 just as I also please everyone in all things, not seeking my own benefit but the benefit of the many, so that they may be saved.
In today’s text it says: If one of the unbelievers invites you and you want to go, eat anything that is set before you without asking questions, for the sake of conscience. But if anyone says to you, “This is meat sacrificed to idols,” do not eat it, for the sake of that one who informed you and for the sake of conscience; Now by “conscience” I do not mean your own, but the other person’s; for why is my freedom judged by another’s conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why am I slandered about that for which I give thanks? The same principle applies if we tolerate or condone the sin of others. We do harm to their conscience by our tolerance. In Matthew 5:17- 20 Jesus says: “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Rather than relaxing God’s commandments and tolerating the darkness that others participate in, just prior Jesus says: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” We are to shine the light of Christ so that they will see the darkness of their actions. The world tries to equate love and tolerance, but in truth they are more like opposites than equal. We tolerate things that we do not love, even things that we hate. We might tolerate the annoying habits of a person because we love them, but sin should not be tolerated because of love. 1 John 4:19 says: We love, because He first loved us. Romans 5:8 says: God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Our ability and our capacity to love is based in God’s love for us that was demonstrated in the cross, when Jesus died for our sins. How then could we possibly demonstrate our love for others by tolerating and embracing the very thing Jesus suffered to redeem us from? Romans 12:9 says: Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
In the text, Paul says: Whatever you do, do all things for the glory of God. Do not offend Jews or Greeks, or the church of God; just as I also please everyone in all things, not seeking my own benefit but the benefit of the many, so that they may be saved. In John 5:19 Jesus says: “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in the same way.” That should be our desire and our motive in all that we do, to do what the Father is doing, to do all that we do for the glory of God. We cannot do that on our own. In John 16:7-15 Jesus says: “It is to your advantage that I am leaving; for if I do not leave, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world regarding sin, and righteousness, and judgment: regarding sin, because they do not believe in Me; and regarding righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you no longer are going to see Me; and regarding judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged… when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take from Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; this is why I said that He takes from Mine and will disclose it to you.” In John 15:5 Jesus says: “He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” If Christ and the Holy Spirit abide in us, then we will bear fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-25 says: The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ, precious Holy Spirit, may my love be a reflection of Your love. May it be without hypocrisy. May I walk in the Spirit, bearing the fruit of the Spirit and shining the light of Christ in the darkness of the world. May all that I do and all that I say be in agreement with You, for Your glory. Amen.