Saturday, 23 August 2014
But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse. 1 Corinthians 8:8
Taken in context with what Paul has been saying concerning “things offered to idols” this verse should be perfectly clear on several levels. And yet, it is astonishing that so many Christian sects and even aberrant cults fail to grasp the simple and clear language of his words. Here he starts with the word “but.” It is then a contrast to what he just said, “…for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.”
The weaker in doctrine and understanding, the less informed in what Christ did, and those who are not yet properly instructed in the word may have reluctance to eat some type of food because it is perceived to be defiled and thus unclean. But that is not the case. There is no unclean food for the Christian. As Paul will later state in chapter 10 –
“Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience’ sake; for ‘the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.'” 1 Corinthians 10:25, 26
It is the Lord’s earth and He has granted the things of the earth to man to eat. Only a particular group of people, and for a particular set time and purpose, were given dietary restrictions. That time and purpose was fulfilled in Christ Jesus and is now set aside and obsolete. There are no dietary restrictions imposed by the Bible for those in Christ. Paul explains why when he says, “food does not commend us to God.”
It is not worrying about what we eat that is pleasing to God, it is a pure conscience, a right walk, and a heartfelt adherence to His word. Christ fulfilled the Law of Moses and we are to trust in His work, not our own. Concerning foods, the truth is that “for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse.” Whatever we eat cannot harm our relationship, nor can it make it for a closer walk with Christ. It is a neutral matter.
If a thing sold in the meat market which had been sacrificed to an idol is not unclean, then this shows us that no foods are unclean. Pork is the typical example used by nutty cults and sects as being a “no no.” And yet, it is certain that “whatever is sold in the meat market” includes it and any other type of meat. The pagans didn’t care what meat was hanging in the market. They had no idea what the Law of Moses included. It is absurd to think that the act of sacrificing an animal to an idol didn’t include pigs, dogs, horses, or any other unclean animal. Those sacrificing didn’t pull out a copy of the Torah and search to see if the animal they were about to sacrifice to an idol was clean under the Law of Moses before defiling it by sacrificing it to an idol!
Life application: Think clearly on biblical issues! Don’t be led astray by people with crazy agendas or ideas. If one doesn’t eat pork because they are trying to please God, then anything else under the Law of Moses must also be adhered to. It is an illogical thing to pick and choose Scripture in order to make a point which actually doesn’t exist. Instead, it only causes one to revert back to the need to fulfill the law in its entirety, an impossibility!
Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do
Do all to the glory of our great God
Give no offense, as the Bible instructs you
To the Jews or to the Greeks in this life that you trod
Nor to the church of God, and those in it
Instead attempt to please all men in all things
Therefore, don’t seek your own profit
But the profit of many in all your doings
This, so that they may be saved
By seeing your actions and how you have behaved
Yes Lord, I need help in this one for sure! Give me the right attitude to not be an offense to those who see my actions. Help me to use my obvious liberties in Christ for good and not for harm. The knowledge I have is less important than the love I display if that knowledge is used in a way which causes a stumblingblock to others. So, Lord, help me to think clearly on the delicate issues of the faith and then to act wisely in my exercising of them. Amen.