Stumbling Blocks and Springboards
from March 17 & 24 - 1 Corinthians 8,9
“Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “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.”
This isn’t busting on learning or gaining knowledge. You must read on thru verse 13… It’s referring to knowing that there really is only one God and that all others are not real.
Knowing that to be true, we would have no issue with eating any meat sacrificed to a god that doesn’t even exist in reality.
BUT, if we are loving, we must consider what the effect will be on the one without that knowledge, if they see us eating freely what he or she has seen sacrificed to, what is still to them, a real god. It could cause them all kinds of problems. It’s better to err on the side of denying ourselves our liberty to help the one who does yet know as we do. This could have all kinds of application in other areas of life… what might they be?
If I do something that, even though I know it is perfectly harmless in reality, but what I do makes a more immature believer stumble in their faith, or as Paul puts it, is ruined, it is in fact a sin for me. This is a call to proceed with some caution.
Here we find the new testament distinction that when we are sinning, we are not just sinning against ourselves or against someone else… we sin against Christ. Joseph and David saw their sin as against God and so does Paul. We cannot minimize the consequence of sin by trying to compartmentalize it into lesser categories. And ultimately, the effects are the same. And ultimately the antidote is the same too. Christ alone.
We do have a tremendous amount of freedom in Christ. We do. The simple idea here is to never let that freedom (for which Christ died) hinder someone else looking for that same Source of that same freedom. And what if this freedom became a springboard for us to win others to Christ?
Christ freely died for us so that we would be free. In other words, the freedom with which Jesus employed to die for us, now reigns and rules in us. His life was not taken from Him, He laid it life down freely (John 10:17,18) so that we could have be freed to live with such power. We can actually choose to make sacrifices on other’s behalf. In doing so, we are freely showing self-control and putting other’s need ahead of yours.
How can this new understanding of freedom act as a springboard to ministering to others?