This letter to the church at Corinth is filled with practical advice and instruction. Some of the instructions might have been strange to Jewish readers of the day, particularly these specific examples regarding food. God placed several food related stipulations on the Israelites in the Old Testament, many of which the Jews of New Testament time were still living under. Believers in Christ, then and now, live under a new covenant completed by the finished work of His death and resurrection.
Like the vision Peter had explaining the liberty afforded to believers concerning unclean animals in Acts 10, Paul takes on the “hot button” issue of “unclean” foods that new Christians might encounter. Paul wanted these new Christians to understand the freedom they now had in Christ, and live rightly in this new liberty. Specifically here, He speaks to the issue of meats that had been offered to idols, which was common in this area. Animals would be offered as a sacrifice in pagan temples and then sold in the market. Paul suggested that even if a believers conscience would allow them to consume meat offered as a sacrifice because of their freedom and liberty in Christ, he advocated for abstinence for the sake of the pagan’s moral conscience.
For us, let’s ask the bigger question: what is the most glorifying to God? Having the freedom in Christ to do what you like? Or having the consideration for the consciences of other people and promotion of their well-being? What glorifies God is what puts His preferences, plans, and program above the satisfaction of our personal preferences, and insistence on our own rights.
Paul puts this idea even more succinctly in Colossians 3:17
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Live today in the freedom that Christ’s righteousness affords us and do all things for the glory of God!
By: Alex Boswell