Vs 1 … we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up.
Vs 4 … We know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.”
Vs 7 However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.
Vs 8 Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do.
Vs 9 But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.
Vs 13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.
Paul is expressing great concern for his fellow Christians who are both mature and immature.
As much as Paul wants the immature, “weak”, Christians to grow, he especially wants the mature, “strong”, Christians to love them well.
He recognizes that the mature Christians have something not everyone has, “knowledge”.
And this knowledge can be abused to make themselves seem better than others, “puffed up”
But the goal is to “build up” the church. And it is love that builds up.
The best way in this situation to love was to not exercise their rights for themselves.
How do I use my knowledge of God? And how do I exercise my rights as a Christian?
These are the questions Paul is wanting me to consider.
Sometimes I act as if my goal is simply to accumulate knowledge.
We have more resources now than ever to accumulate knowledge of and about God.
(Countless translations of the Bible, endless commentaries, podcasts, blogs, video studies, etc, etc, etc,)
And I enjoy a whole bunch of them! … But to what end?
How do I apply this knowledge? Just to sit on it with pride? Do I judge others for lack of knowledge?
Jesus had the harshest of words to the Pharisees for just such a thing.
Yes, knowledge can “puff up”. But I must love.
And what may be the best way to love others is to not do something just because I can do something.
I can see a normal activity like eating or drinking as meaningless as it relates to my relationship with God.
Someone else who may be “weaker” in their knowledge or relationship with God may see certain activities as very significant.
If I can see that engaging in some action will confuse the conscience of someone else I simply should not do it!
It’s not about whether I have the right to do it or not, even as a Christian.
It’s about whether it is the loving thing to do.
We live an era when the fight for “rights” is making headlines all the time.
And rights are certainly important, but the fights now are always about what someone can do themselves.
Paul is saying the loving thing to do may well be to lay down that right for the sake of another.
Paul goes so far as to say that causing another to stumble, even if I have the right to do something, is sin!
God, thank you for your Word
Help me to know it and know You
But help me to use that knowledge in the right way
The loving way
Help me see the others you put around me
Help me not act as stumbling block to them
In Jesus name