Paul has a very beautiful way to describe a Christian who may disagree fiercely with him. He describes that person as ‘someone for whom Christ died’. God has shown such great love for that person (5:6-8). Therefore, of course Christians must also show love to that person; it is their duty to do that (Romans 13:8; 1 John 3:23).
However, in both Rome and Corinth (1 Corinthians 8:11-12), some Christians were not showing that love. Their reason astonishes us. They cared more about their choice of food, than about the people whom God loves so much. They wanted the freedom to eat any kind of food, and that attitude was upsetting weaker Christians. In Corinth, that attitude was even causing some weak Christians to do things that their conscience did not permit (1 Corinthians 8:10).
Cain tried to argue that he had no responsibility for his brother (Genesis 4:9). In fact, he had murdered his brother. That is like the Christian who refuses to care about other Christians (1 John 3:11-15). It is completely unlike the attitude of love that Christ showed (1 John 3:16). Christ gave his own life so that people could have a right relationship with God.
Those Christians in Rome and Corinth wanted to eat whatever foods pleased them. They cared very much about their own pleasure. It mattered much more to them than the things that worried weaker Christians. Paul urged them to change their attitudes. Christians should show the kind of love that 1 Corinthians chapter 13 describes. They should truly care about weaker Christians (Mark 9:42). They should be ready even to give up their own rights in order to help them (1 Corinthians 9:18-23).
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© 2018, Keith Simons.