Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy?
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.
Our society and culture says that tolerance is synonymous with love, that if we don’t tolerate the choices of others we are hypocrites and haters. The truth is, tolerance is more like the opposite of love. We tolerate things that we don’t like but must allow. We embrace what we love. Our culture is not satisfied to have their choices tolerated, they want everyone to accept them, embrace them and even to be made to participate in them. In trying not to offend the world, the church has been silent for far too long. James 4:4 says: You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Today’s text goes even farther saying: 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. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? We are not stronger than He, are we? We cannot say that we love God if we embrace the very things that Jesus died on the cross to redeem us from. Romans 12:9 says: Love must be free of hypocrisy. Detest what is evil; cling to what is good. Romans 5:8 says: God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. The challenge for believers is that we too are to demonstrate the love of God to those who are sinners, but not to be hypocrites and embrace their sin.
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. We should try not to offend anyone, but we cannot embrace sin for the glory of God. Many people today are offended by anything and everything that opposes them. If the truth offends them, we should not stop speaking the truth, because it is for their benefit. Ephesians 4:15-16 says: Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, that is, Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. If righteousness offends them, we should not embrace unrighteousness. It would not be for their benefit. If the Light of Christ shining through us offends the darkness they have chosen we should not hide or dim the light. In Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus says: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” The Light is for their benefit.
Jesus words in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life,” are some of the most familiar words in all of scripture. But to fully understand them, they must be understood in the context of what Jesus is saying. Beginning at verse 15 and to verse 21, He says: “… even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” God so hated sin, evil and darkness, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, that they would see the Light and know the truth and have everlasting life. If lifting up Jesus offends them, we must still lift Him up.
Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit. You are the Way, the Truth, the Light and the Life. Amen.