Morality and Maturity
There was an important moral issue related to the situation in Corinth. But it wasn’t about the food or share this website the dedication of the food to false gods. It was about sanctification and growth in Christ. “But,” said Paul, “take care that this right of yours does not somehow Check our website Januvia Generic Alternative become a stumbling block to the weak.” (1 Corinthians 8:9). What right was Paul talking about? The right to ignore everything about idols and false worship. The right to participate in Christ’s freedom, the right to participate in the holidays and festivals of false gods (the popular culture of the day) because those gods had no real power.
Paul would later tell the Corinthians, “But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:16-17). One of the freedoms granted in Christ was freedom from the Old Testament food laws. The risen Christ instructed Peter, “What God has made clean, do not call common” (Acts 11:9). Later Paul would write to the Romans, “Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats” (Romans 14:20).
In Christ we are free indeed. Yet, our freedom is not a license to confuse those who are not as mature in the faith as we are. Our individual freedom in Christ is bound by our love of and service to the body of Christ. We are free from our bondage to sin in order to become willing servants — slaves — to Christ, and through Christ, to His people, the church, the body of Christ. The mature in Christ are obligated and bound to assist in the sanctification of the immature in Christ, and at the very least, not to become stumbling blocks to them.
To the mature Paul said, “Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.” (1 Corinthians 8:8). There are no moral or spiritual consequences related to the consumption of food. The point is that the rights of some can lead others astray because the less mature do not discern their own weaknesses. Immature Christians often overestimate their own spiritual development. The ESV translates the Greek word (exousia) as rights, whereas the word also means authority, jurisdiction, liberty, power and strength. Exousia is a freedom, an ability, an authority, a power. And it can be abused. The freedom of one person can become a means of sin and abuse to another.
The strong in Christ, the mature in Christ are not to live for themselves, not to overlook the special concerns of their weaker brothers and sisters. Rather, they are to protect and nurture them in Christ. The weaker brothers and sisters in Christ are just that — weak. The Greek word is astheneo. “In all things,” said Paul, “I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive'” (Acts 20:35). To the Romans Paul wrote, “Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble” (Romans 14:20). “The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” (Romans 14:20-23).
It is not simply that insensitive and undiscerning freedom in Christ can offend those who are weak, those who are immature in Christ, but note that the prideful exercise of freedom in Christ can cause other Christians to become even weaker, even more immature, and fall into sin. How can we understand this? Perhaps the analogy of alcoholism will help.
Alcohol is a food. We consume it. And it is clean. It is not forbidden. It is even a blessing and a joy in Christ. However, it can be abused. We are free to consume it, but we must be cautious not to abuse it. In addition, we must take special care not to use it in such a way that it becomes a stumbling block to others.
Recovering alcoholics are not free to consume alcohol. They must avoid it because they have established habits of abuse. Their habit is to abuse it. So, to use it at all is to set the old habit into motion. Their weakness is their lack of control of that old habit.
Similarly recovering pagans had established patterns of beliefs and behaviors that were destructive to themselves and to the kingdom of God. Many, perhaps most of the Corinthian Christians were recovering pagans. Their weakness was the strength and tenacity of their old habits, their old patterns of belief and behavior. Like recovering alcoholics, recovering pagans found it difficult to engage their old habits without falling prey to them.
So, the problem was that if such a recovering pagan, a new Christian, saw some other respected Christian participating in pagan rituals and holiday celebrations, he might be tempted to participate as well, to engage in his old habits, his pagan worldview, before he has matured to the point that he could control those habits. He could easily get caught up in his old habits and ways of thinking, often without realizing it until it was too late. The truth is that we can all slip back into our own old habits of sin and immaturity all to easily. We are all creatures of habit and habits are hard to change.
While it is true that false gods have no power, idolatry and false belief are very strong human habits that have very deep roots in the human psyche. The false gods themselves have no real existence or power, but the habits of false belief and the behaviors they engender are very alluring and destructive. While alcohol consumption is not always a sin, a life of excessive drinking is deadly. It will interfere with and obstruct one’s sanctification. So, even though it is not always a sin, said Paul, avoid it for the sake of your weaker brother. Don’t let your knowledge of the truth, or your strength to not succumb to old habits, become the undoing of others. “And so doxycycline price increase generic zoloft price100mg of zoloft for anxiety doxycycline 50 mg price buy generic anastrozoleAnastrozole generic cost prednisone online uk Prednisone natural alternative Buy Cheap anastrozole Online Without Prescription family guy quest for stuff hack cheats by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died” (1 Corinthians 8:11).
Paul makes this point later, “‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things build up” (1 Corinthians 10:23). Just because we can, doesn’t mean that we should. So, Paul counseled the Corinthians not to participate in the holiday celebrations or eat the food that had been dedicated to idols, not because it was a sin, nor because it would in any way harm them, but rather for the sake of the sanctification of those buy stromectol 3 mgStromectol 3 mg tablets dead trigger 2 hack 2017 who were less mature, less stable in the faith, those who could still be drawn back into their old habits of false belief and destructive behavior.