Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.

1 Corinthians 8:4-6

I really like this passage, the whole chapter in fact. Go read it if you haven’t lately. It’s about the way people were interacting with each other over a common, necessary daily thing: food. There was a big issue with food because there were some folks who didn’t understand the principle I shared above. Namely, that idols don’t represent anything at all but are, in fact, just objects.

What is most important comes next though. “However not all men have this knowledge; but some, being accustomed to the idol until now, eat food as if it were sacrificed to an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.” The command that Paul gives is not to the weak but to the strong. The avoidance of idol-sacrificed meat was something those who know better were to do for the sake of the person whose conscious was still hurt by eating it.

This is the lesson for us: just because you are free to do something doesn’t mean there are no restrictions on when, where and with whom it is appropriate. Even in matters of faith! This means that when we are helping along someone who is not as firm in the faith, we may have to refrain from things we are comfortable doing alone or in other company. Learn TPO: time, place, occasion!

Ethan Kirl

Originally Published October 15, 2020