Tuesday, 14 October 2014
Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. 1 Corinthians 10:20
In this, Paul makes a contrast to his previous thought. It read, “What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything?” The meat which had been sacrificed to an idol was merely meat, nothing more. In the verses ahead he will show that we can eat such meat without regard to our conscience (verse 27). However, to ensure that he isn’t misunderstood, he does acknowledge that food sacrificed to idols is nothing and then immediately inserts “rather.”
The meat is unchanged, but the sacrifice itself is wholly inappropriate to participate in. His words to support this are almost a reflection of a verse from Deuteronomy 32. In that passage, Moses speaks of the people sacrificing to false gods which are not God and thus they “forgot the God who gave” them birth. Here are his words –
“They sacrificed to demons, not to God, To gods they did not know, To new gods, new arrivals That your fathers did not fear. 18 Of the Rock who begot you, you are unmindful, And have forgotten the God who fathered you.” Deuteronomy 32:17, 18
By participating in a pagan sacrifice, they are turning from God to a non-god who is actually a demon. If the ritual isn’t to God, then it must be to either the devil or a force under the control of the devil. This is the battle we are constantly facing; a spiritual battle against wicked powers. We are told about this in Ephesians 6. There Paul describes the reality of the situation as well as the protection we are to take against it. In verse 12, he says this –
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
As this is the reality of our actions, we should never presume to attend a pagan sacrifice. Paul warns against it because, as he says, “I do not want you to have fellowship with demons.” Rather, we are to live in holiness and the exalting of the true God through our worship of Jesus Christ.
Life application: We cannot participate in pagan rituals and come out unscathed. Stand on the word, cling to the Lord, and fix your eyes and thoughts on Him alone.
Precious heavenly Father, there are so many temptations in this life that creep in when I least expect them. How often I walk along, fellowshipping with You and feeling like I have everything under control. But then all of a sudden, I find myself thinking about or even acting on something which is completely contrary to what You would have for me. Then, I am reminded of my failings and my need to cling to You. Please give my fingers the strength to cling and never let go. And I will also remember that You have Your strong hand on me as well. I am secure in You because of Christ my Lord. Thank You for this assurance. Amen.