Paul has almost finished his advice about the meat that people offer to false gods. Clearly, that was an important subject for the Christians at Corinth.
Here, Paul refers to two of the excuses of those Christians who were eating that meat. Firstly, they knew that God had made them free. So, they were only using the freedom that God had given to them. Secondly, they gave thanks to God for that food. They did not see why they should refuse good food.
Those arguments may seem clear and sensible. But there is something very strange about those ideas.
It is a strange kind of freedom whose only effect is to cause trouble and worry for other people. It is a strange way to give thanks that causes other people to say bad things about you. We should use our freedom to give honour to God. We should give thanks in order to praise God. Everything that we do should give honour to God (10:31).
Paul urged Christians to ask themselves whether their actions really bring honour to God. When their actions help people to trust God, then people will praise God for that. But that does not happen if their actions only increase people’s doubts and worries. And then God will not receive from those people the honour that he deserves.
There are many situations where Christians do not know what to do. Or, they may have such strong opinions that it is difficult for them to follow the Bible’s instructions. In such situations, it is always wise to ask what will bring the greatest honour to God.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.