1 Corinthians 10:33


Monday, 27 October 2014

…just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. 1 Corinthians 10:33

In this paragraph, Paul has noted that everything we do should be to the glory of God and that we are to give no offence in the process. As shown though, that is concerning issues of conscience, not issues of doctrine. We are never asked to do something which will be at the expense of upholding right doctrine. But in those areas where conscience is an over-arching concern – be it “to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God” we should be willing to look to the example set before us; that of Christ who “did not please Himself” (Romans 15:3).

With Christ as our ultimate example, Paul notes that he had attempted to be like-minded and that we could use his example. And so he notes “just as I also please all men in all things.” Why would Paul note himself as an example, rather than stating it as he did in Romans 15:3? The answer is that Christ is an overall example to those who would follow Him. He is the Head of the church and the fulfillment of Scripture. But though He is the first example to the church, Paul is an example within the church. In other words, Paul’s ministry included outreach to those outside the church for evangelism and those inside the church for doctrine and edification.

Therefore, there is nothing wrong when he uses himself as an example. He is showing how to act under the Headship of Christ and he is doing it to please “all men in all things.” In fact, he says “not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many.” Rather than accepting the liberties that he had been granted in Christ, he was willing to forego the exercise of them and not tread on the conscience of another. He could have enjoyed certain meats, but he would abstain if it were to harm another’s conscience. To him, finding joy in the Lord was more pleasing than finding joy in a banquet.

In all things, his hope was to bring about a great knowledge of Christ in others so “that they may be saved.” This was his highest hope for all whom he met. If he could lead them to Christ, even if it meant doing so at the expense of his personal liberties, then to him it would have been worth it. Matthew Poole sums up this thought for the well-grounded believer. Yes, Christians have great liberty in Christ, but “… notwithstanding that liberty, yet they ought to have respect to the spiritual good and salvation of others, and to do that part which their judgments inform them will be, as least to the spiritual damage and detriment, so most to the spiritual good and profit, of the souls of others with whom they converse.”

Life application: What is the value of another person’s salvation? What is the value of another person’s proper doctrine? Are we willing destroy the chance of people coming to Christ simply because we “can” do something? Or would it be more prudent to stop and consider if our actions, though allowable, might be detrimental towards another person. We have been left here not to indulge ourselves in our freedoms in Christ, but to be examples to lead others to Christ.

O God, there are those times where I could really kick myself for having done something stupid which might make others question my faith in You. What kind of an example am I of the title “Christian” when I demonstrate my failings in front of them? Help me to consider this at all times and to do those things which will make others want to seek You, not run from You because I have brought dishonor on Your great name. Help me in this Lord. Amen.



1 Corinthians 10:32


Sunday, 26 October 2014

Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God,1 Corinthians 10:32

The words of this verse are clear and explicit. In giving no offense, we are seeking the glory of God and thus honoring Him. The reason for this is obvious. If it is God’s will that none “should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9), then our avoiding offense in others is in line with God’s will. Instead of chasing people away from Christ, we should be leading them to Christ. And to ensure that we don’t misunderstand or misapply the precept to one category of people and not to another, he gives the all-encompassing thought that we are to act in like manner to either “the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God.”

The Bible’s two main categories of people are Jews and Gentiles (represented here by the term “Greeks”). We are to have the same standard for both categories, not holding ill-will towards the unconverted Jews as so many do. They have the same need for Christ as do the Gentiles. And then, as an additional category, Paul speaks also of the “church of God.” In this, he has made a distinction between the unconverted (Jews and Greeks) and the converted (the church of God.)

Those in the church deserve the same care because there are differing levels of maturity. If offense is given to the weaker in the faith, it could cause them to stray from their faith. What a price to pay over something as trivial as eating a meal! It is our obligation to edify others, not tear them down.

Having noted that the words are clear and explicit, there is yet an obvious qualification which needs to be addressed. It is true that we are to “give no offense,” but this is true in indifferent matters. We are never to forsake proper doctrine at the expense of “offense.” Tolerance quickly becomes the death knell for the sound Christian church. As soon as “tolerance” becomes of primary importance, doctrine can no longer be adhered to in a proper way. Thus, the church very rapidly becomes no church at all. The truths contained in the Bible are firm, fixed, and unchanging. Be ready to stand on biblical truth, even at the expense of offending others who are belligerent against it.

Life application: If your church won’t stand on the truth of the Bible, it will quickly be no true church at all. An example of this is John 14:6 – “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Either that is true or it isn’t. It is highly offensive to state to an unbeliever who rejects Jesus that they will never enter heaven’s gates, but instead are destined for hell. However, Jesus has spoken and the Bible has recorded His words. If a church will not proclaim this simple truth, it is not a true church at all. Stand on the Bible, be firm and fixed in your resolve to proclaim Christ, and be willing to take whatever abuse and insults will come your way because of it.

Fixed and unchanging is the word of God
It proclaims a message which must be adhered to
Let us stand on its truths while in this life we trod
Are you also willing this to do?

What is more important than obedience to the Lord?
What profit is gaining the world and yet losing your soul?
And so be willing to accept the truth of God’s word
Fear not in obedience, for He is in control

He will exalt you for your faithful adherence to His book
And will reward you for your willingness to proclaim it
When you look back on the noble path that you took
You will be honored that to His word you did submit

Heavenly Father, it seems like every day people get more confused about Your word. The world will find any and every reason to fight against its truths or to manipulate them so that evil rather than good is what they declare. Things once thought perverse are proclaimed as if they were Your will. Help me to stand firm on the truth of Your word and to never compromise pure, right, and holy doctrine – even if it means offense to others. I ask this that You will be glorified as is right and proper. Amen.


1 Corinthians 10:31


Saturday, 25 October 2014

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

This verse is commonly known as the Christian’s great “first principle.” Paul has been speaking about foods sacrificed to idols, our Christian liberties in regards to that, and our need to consider others’ conscience in the process. He has shown that by following this pattern which gives glory to God, we will be neither overly offensive towards others, nor complacent in our duties and responsibilities towards Him.

This then is the reason for the word “therefore.” It looks over the entire discourse he has thus far penned on the Christian’s responsibilities and sums them up in an all-inclusive statement. “Whether you eat or drink” covers everything he has written about concerning the issue of idols and our liberties and responsibilities in regards to them. “Or whatever you do” adds in every aspect of our life; nothing is excepted. With each step we take, with each breath we breathe, with each day we go off to work, or with every penny we spend for the things we need or desire, nothing is exempt and everything is included. In all things we do, “do all to the glory of God.”

Being filled with the Spirit is not an active process. Rather it is passive. We are sealed with the Spirit the moment we receive Christ as Lord. We have all the Spirit we will ever receive at that moment. But the Spirit can get more of us as we cede our life to Him. When we do, He fills the voids that exist in our humanity. As the Spirit is fully God, then He will only do in us that which glorifies Himself, and therefore God will be glorified. It is a synergistic relationship of us ceding to the will of God and allowing God to be glorified in the process through the Spirit’s work.

Unfortunately, in what seems almost unappealing to most Christians, we cannot be in God’s will if we don’t know what His will is. Thus we must read, study, and practice what is given in His word. There is no “short cut” and no external injection of right knowledge which leads to right practice. Either we study and then put into practice His word or we are not glorifying God as we should. This is an inescapable truth.

As a great summary of this verse, we can look to the eloquent words of Ellicott –

“The quality of each act depends on the spirit which guides it, and the motive from which it springs. The commonest thing may be done in a high Christian spirit. The greatest deed may spring from a low and selfish motive. A religious act done in a secular spirit is secular. A secular thing done in a religious spirit is religious. This is ‘the great first principle’ of Christian life.”

Life application: Doing all things to the glory of God means that we must know what will bring glory to God. Knowing what will bring glory to God is knowing what God has shown will bring glory to Him. Knowing what God has shown will bring glory to Him is knowing His word which is given for this purpose. Know your word; put your knowledge into practice; and give glory to God.

Lord God, Your word says that in whatever I do, I am to do all to the glory of God. This is tougher than I dare to admit. My mind wanders, my thoughts roam to things that may not be holy, and my actions seem to overtake me by impulses that are hard to control. You know my limitations and my weaknesses. And so Lord, strengthen me for this battle and give me the single-minded desire to fulfill this precept and to do everything for Your glory. It is what I wish and I know it is what You desire. Be glorified through my actions. Amen.



1 Corinthians 10:30


Friday, 24 October 2014

But if I partake with thanks, why am I evil spoken of for the food over which I give thanks? 1 Corinthians 10:30

Paul has been referring to eating or not eating meat based on conscience, not personal conscience, but the conscience of another. If they are going to be negatively affected in their understanding of the work of Christ, then refraining from eating is the proper course to take. And yet, in the last verse he closed with, “For why is my liberty judged by another man’s conscience?” The answer is that it should not be so judged. We have liberties and we are free to exercise them, knowing that the Lord has accepted us.

And so we have two sides to the coin presented. The first is that of not harming another’s conscience and the second is that we should be firm and fixed in our beliefs. In regards to that second premise, he says, “But if I partake with thanks, why am I evil spoken of for the food over which I give thanks?” He indicates that the food is acceptable, he has given thanks to the Lord for it, and nobody should charge him with wrongdoing when he has done nothing wrong. The food should be eaten without further anxiety. The Pulpit Commentary does a good job of explaining this –

“He desiderated more considerateness and self denial on the one side; and on the other, a more robust and instructed faith, he would always tolerate the scruples of the weak, but would not suffer either weakness or strength to develop itself into a vexatious tyranny.”

In other words, Paul was one to acknowledge that there are weak believers or uninformed non-believers that needed to be accommodated, but there are also contrarians that will perpetually nitpick another person to the point where they subjugate them to their every whim. They will do this just for the sake of being bossy or demonstrating a “holier than thou” attitude. One must be discerning and not let such people ruin the joy we have in the Lord or rob us of our freedoms.

In everything, we are to consider our standing in Christ and work as best as we can within that position. It is a precept that he laid out in Romans 14 and which he is reiterating to the Corinthians in his letter to them. Here are his words to those in Rome –

“Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.” Romans 14:16-18

Life application: It is our duty to be considerate to those around us who are truly weaker in the faith and who lack in the knowledge of the Lord. However, it is also our responsibility to not let people who willingly act in a contrary manner toward our freedoms in Christ rob us of our joy. If someone is shown the truth of a matter, such as that all foods are acceptable, and they still charge you with wrongdoing, then ignore them. Enjoy your lobster and let them eat peas.

Lord God, everyday the news seems to get worse and worse. It seems that bad news and uncertainty prevail. There is anxiety and there is confusion everywhere. And yet, Your book is written and it says that there is good news ahead for those who put their trust in You. I will not be shaken in my faith even if the sky falls and the earth quakes. In You I have peace, contentment, and more than abundant joy. In You I have Christ my Lord. No worries here! Amen.



1 Corinthians 10:29


Thursday, 23 October 2014

“Conscience,” I say, not your own, but that of the other. For why is my liberty judged by another man’s conscience? 1 Corinthians 10:29

In the previous two verses, we were instructed that if we are invited to dinner, we can eat whatever is set before us, asking no question about it for conscience’ sake. However, if someone were to say that the food was sacrificed to an idol, then we shouldn’t eat it, again for conscience’ sake. In this verse Paul explains that by saying “‘Conscience,’ I say, not your own but that of the other.”

He has gone to great lengths to show that an idol is nothing and therefore it can have no effect on the food we eat. The meat doesn’t magically transfer into something else, nor is there anything which adheres to the meat which would cause us to somehow become defiled. It is meat and nothing more. Therefore, with this knowledge, our conscience should never be affected by what we consume. However, the conscience of others may be affected.

If we eat meat that has been openly acknowledged as having been sacrificed to an idol, then those who know that we are Christians might think we are condoning the practice of sacrificing to an idol. Thus, their conscience will be defiled. Whether they are non-believers or weak believers, the result will be a defiling of the truth of Christ in their minds. This is what Paul is conveying.

And to complete this verse he says, “For why is my liberty judged by another man’s conscience?” He states this to show why it is not for our conscience’s sake but for the sake of the other’s conscience. We have full liberty in Christ because Christ is Lord. The earth is His and from Him came all things. Those who are strong in their faith know this and therefore their conscience will not be defiled by the knowledge that the food they are eating was sacrificed to idols. We also know that another man’s weak conscience or unclear thinking on an issue is not the source for judging our liberties in Christ. Rather, our superior knowledge should be the basis of our actions towards them.

Just because someone thinks we are doing something wrong has no bearing on whether we are actually doing something wrong. We are accountable to Christ alone and not to the conscience of another. As we know this, then we should be willing to sacrifice our liberties for the sake of another who doesn’t know these things.

Life application: Once again, Paul shows that there are no foods which are unclean to the Christian. The issue of what is physically healthy isn’t addressed by the Bible. The issue of what is morally acceptable is, and all foods are morally acceptable. However, there is the issue of the conscience of others. If our liberties cause them a moral dilemma, then we need to refrain from engaging in them until our position is explained and understood.

Lord God, You have said in Your word that there is one way and only one way to be reconciled to You, through Your Son Jesus Christ. I will stand on the truth of this message above all else. You are not confused and neither should I be. What You have spoken is what I will proclaim. What is most amazing is that You would even provide one way. The infinite grace displayed in the giving of Your Son is more than I can grasp. All hail the Lamb of God. All hail the name of Jesus. Amen.