Knowledge and Love

Chic Broersma

READ : 1 Corinthians 8:1-13

This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. (v. 1)

It helps in understanding today’s passage to know that most of the meat available for
sale in a city like Corinth came from the city’s pagan temples. It was surplus flesh from
animal sacrifices. Paul’s concern here is to help the new believer. In the past, this
person sat at table, eating food earlier offered to idols as a part of worship. This young
Christian now knows that the only real God is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Creator of all things, who has declared all foods clean. Yet when he eats food that
had previously been offered in pagan worship, he might very well suffer pangs of
conscience. What to do? The answer: If eating violates your sensitive conscience, don’t do
it. Whatever others may do, if the activity seems wrong to you, don’t do it.

What if my conscience is clear in what I do, yet when my friend follows suit he
experiences a guilty conscience? In such circumstances, we’ll want to imitate the
apostle’s example: “If food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make
my brother stumble” (v. 13). There’s a principle here. When faced with a choice, for
example, having a social drink, we should act out of loving concern for the one who is
with us. We should not insist upon our freedom to do as we please. Building up a fellow
believer should be our prime concern.

PRAYER

Lord of love, help me be willing, when necessary, to limit my freedom for the sake of another.