Let Love Lead

Key Verse: “If any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. But if any man love God, the same is known of him.”
—I Corinthians 8:2,3

Selected Scripture:
I Corinthians 8:1-7

THE APOSTLE PAUL SAID, “Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but love edifieth. … As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. … Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.” (I Cor. 8:1,4,7) The Corinthian Christians were in the midst of an idolatrous people, and had come out from them. They had heard and accepted the Gospel of Christ, and now desired to be entirely separate from idolaters.

Much of the meat sold in the market was often first offered to idols and available at a lower price. Many times, only a portion of the animal was taken for the sacrifice, and the excess sold in the market. It was not easy to know which had been offered in sacrifice to some heathen deity and which had not. Some Christians were strictly opposed to partaking of such meat, but with others, knowing the meat was not injured and since there was no change, it made no difference.

The matter was referred to Paul for solution who, in essence said: ‘About eating meat sacrificed to idols, an idol is nothing at all. We as God’s people have an understanding of the Divine Word and the liberties wherewith Christ makes us free. Thus, we can eat such meat and not injure our consciences. We know that there is only one God, although there are many that are called gods or lords, whether in heaven or on earth.’ For us there is only “one God, the Father,” who is the creator of all things, for whom we exist, “and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him” (I Cor. 8:6), and through whom we live.

He said that we, as the Lord’s people having knowledge, are not merely to consider our own liberties, but to abstain from our liberties in the interest of others to whom they might prove to be injurious stumbling blocks. Although the knowledge we have that there is only one God, and sacrifice to idols means nothing, we cannot ignore the knowledge and feelings of other brethren.

The Apostle sums up the matter when he declares that, as for himself, if he found it necessary, in order that he might be a help to the brethren and not a stumbling block to any, he would take pleasure in denying himself, not only the meat offered to idols, but all meat of every kind as long as he lived. Thus Paul manifested the true spirit of brotherly love; and every follower of the Lord Jesus Christ should seek to have this same spirit and sentiment active in all their associations with each other. Whoever is a child of God, not only has liberty, but must also have the spirit of love. “If any man have not the spirit of Christ [love], he is none of his.”—Rom. 8:9

“We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself.”—Rom. 15:1-3

Dawn Bible Students Association
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