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Daily Verse: “Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up.” (1 Corinthians 8:1 ESV)
EIDOLOTHUTON (1494): “An image-sacrifice, i.e., part of an idolatrous offering: things offered unto idols. This word is an adjective signifying “sacrificed to idols.”[i]
Paul, answering another question from the Corinthians, addresses eating food sacrificed to idols. The question leads to another question about exercising our freedoms. No longer under the law, thanks to Jesus, what do they do.
Motivation for our decisions should consider how our actions will affect the person. Paul uses the example of his rights for provision from others because he’s spreading the gospel, as written in the Jewish law. But Paul didn’t exercise his rights because he didn’t want to give anyone a reason not to accept the truth of Jesus.
In other words, Paul put Jesus before the law and the rights he gained from it. Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should.
The second half of the verse gives us an answer we can apply to any situation. Whatever the circumstance, we should look for ways to build love, not ourselves. If what we contemplate doesn’t advance the kingdom through grace and mercy, then we shouldn’t do it, even if we have every right.
As Christ followers, we have every right to drink alcohol. However, if we hinder someone’s walk with Jesus by exercising our rights, then don’t drink. Whatever the situation, ask yourself how my actions will impact the people around me? If the answer doesn’t lead to more people knowing Christ, then don’t do it.
Living for Christ means putting Him first in all decisions. Anything that takes away from sharing the good news of the Gospel doesn’t advance the kingdom. Love paves the way for relationships with Jesus.
Christ first loved us; He showed us how to care for others. Offering our bodies as living sacrifices opens the door for others to meet the Savior.
[i] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. Greek Dictionary of the New Testament (p. 77) Thomas Nelson