14My friends, you must keep away from idols. 15I am speaking to you as people who have enough sense to know what I am talking about. 16 When we drink from the cup we ask God to bless, isn't that sharing in the blood of Christ? When we eat the bread we break, isn't that sharing in the body of Christ? 17By sharing in the same loaf of bread, we become one body, even though there are many of us.
18 Aren't the people of Israel sharing in the worship when they gather around the altar and eat the sacrifices offered there? 19Am I saying that either the idols or the food sacrificed to them is anything at all? 20 No, I am not! This food is really sacrificed to demons and not to God. I don't want you to have anything to do with demons. 21You cannot drink from the cup of demons and still drink from the Lord's cup. You cannot eat at the table of demons and still eat at the Lord's table. 22 We would make the Lord jealous if we did this. And we are not stronger than the Lord.
Self-confident Christians think they can wander close to temptation. This is fine, until the day they get their fingers burned – or worse. Asked how close he could drive to a precipice without going over the edge, a bus driver is said to have replied, “As far away as I can get!” Wise man. And wise the Christian who stays clear of temptation…
Follow Paul’s reasoning here.
- In the Communion, there is real contact with Christ. As we partake of the bread and of the cup, we are one with Christ and one with our fellow believers (vv 16,17). We link ourselves afresh to our Lord, we renew our pledge of loyalty and service.
- In idol worship, there is real contact with devils. If the first point is true, the second is also (v 20). You cannot bow to an idol without getting tied up with the devil who lurks behind It. You pledge yourself to him. You enter his service. Today idols are not usually made of wood and stone. No, the devil places his “idols” in store windows, on screens, in drugstores, on street corners. Woe to the Christian who strays too close, who mortgages his soul and denies his Lord (v 21).
Father, the devil is too clever for me. Keep me safe from all his tricks, for Christ’s sake. 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!