Always Honor God
23 Some of you say, “We can do whatever we want to!” But I tell you not everything may be good or helpful. 24We should think about others and not about ourselves. 25However, when you buy meat in the market, go ahead and eat it. Keep your conscience clear by not asking where the meat came from. 26 The Scriptures say, “The earth and everything in it belong to the Lord.”
27If an unbeliever invites you to dinner, and you want to go, then go. Eat whatever you are served. Don't cause a problem for someone's conscience by asking where the food came from. 28-29But if you are told it has been sacrificed to idols, don't cause a problem by eating it. I don't mean a problem for yourself, but for the one who told you. Why should my freedom be limited by someone else's conscience? 30If I give thanks for what I eat, why should anyone accuse me of doing wrong?
31When you eat or drink or do anything else, always do it to honor God. 32Don't cause problems for Jews or Greeks or anyone else who belongs to God's church. 33I always try to please others instead of myself, in the hope that many of them will be saved.
1 You must follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
“Eat!” (v 25). Some Christians have such desperately sensitive consciences that they don’t seem able to do anything without long heart searchings about it. Their consciences become utter tyrants. Paul says, “If you want to buy food in the market, don’t ask a lot of questions about where it came from. Buy it, eat it, and thank God!”
“Eat!” (v 27). Again, some Christians’ chief way of witnessing to non-Christians seems to be to emphasize all the things they don’t do! When you’re a guest in someone else’s home, try to be good company, as Paul was – as Christ himself was (11:1).
“Don’t eat!” (v 28). This is a different case. Now the non-Christian is deliberately setting before you something which he knows, and you know, you ought not to touch. This is a time when you must be negative, whatever people may say. Paul now closes this part of his letter with two principles which will help us to decide whether it is right or wrong for us to do something.
- Can it be done to the glory of God (v 31)?
- Will it be a help or a hindrance to others (vv 32, 33)?
Make me wise in my behaviour, heavenly Father, that I may be a true follower of Christ. Amen.
Born in England, Tony served in the British Army in Germany 1945-48, then graduated from Cambridge University and Oak Hill Theological College London. He served as an Anglican priest in London and in 1956, Tony and his wife emigrated to Canada. There he served as Associate and President of Scripture Union. Later, as SU Co-ordinator for the Americas, he travelled widely in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean promoting the work of SU. From 1975 to 1978 he served as Director of Development at Wycliffe College, Toronto, and from 1978 to 1991 as Principal of Montreal Diocesan Theological College. He has just celebrated his 90th birthday!