The Principle of Christian Liberty:
(Read 1 Corinthians 8:1-13)
In chapter 8-10, Paul answers the second question raised by the Corinthians. It had to do with the meat sacrificed to idols. Corinth was the center of idol worship and there were many pagan temples. After the animal was burned at the sacrifice, some of it was sold in public market. The meat used at the feast is also sold in the public market (1 Corinthians 10:25). Some believers believed that their spiritual maturity gave them the freedom to eat this food. But weak believers were offended by their action (8:10). So here Paul explains what Christian liberty is and how it should be practiced. Some Corinthians thought that they have the perfect knowledge and everyone should agree with them (1 Corinthians 8:1). Paul says "Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up". If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God (1 Corinthians 8:3). Our knowledge alone will not solve the problems related to Christian liberty. In fact, speculative knowledge can inflate ego and make people think they are important. If knowledge does not lead us to proper response, it is a defective knowledge. True knowledge comes from reverential trust in God and his Word.
Do all Things to Build Up others:
(Read 1 Corinthians 8:5-13)
Paul explains the subject of eating the meat offered to idols. He establishes the fact that an idol is not really God. There is only one true God (1 Corinthians 8:4). In the pagan world there were many so-called gods in heaven and on earth (1 Corinthians 8:5). But for us there is only one God, the Father who created everything. There is one Lord, Jesus Christ. All things owe their existence to Him (1 Corinthians 8:6). Before their conversion, Corinthians used to eat the sacrifice offered to idols. Their weak consciences are offended because of their past experience (1 Corinthians 8:7). Paul says we cannot win God’s approval by what we eat or do not eat. But we must be careful to avoid anything that would offend a weaker brother. They are not matured in Christ. Matured Christians should gladly give up their rights out of love for weaker brothers. They must do everything to build up fellow believers (1 Corinthians 8:11). When we offend a weaker brother, it is a sin against Christ (1 Corinthians 8:12). Paul says, “If food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat again” (8:13). Christ gave up his own rights and privileges for our sake (Philppians 2:5-8). Imposing our ideas on others is legalism. The only way we can care about the good of others is by the transforming power of Jesus Christ and following his example.