1 Corinthians 8
This will be a shorter devotion than chapter seven, because I am preaching on the entire 8th chapter of 1 Corinthians this coming Sunday (you can view it at www.westlakebaptist.org, click multimedia). At issue in chapter eight is Christian liberty. Since as Christians we don’t live by the Mosaic Law and the dietary restrictions this is a little harder of a chapter for us to relate to. However, when we understand that what Paul is talking about is not using our freedom in Christ to hurt others, we can begin to relate to it. What about those things that the Bible doesn’t specifically say are ok or specifically say are bad for us? These are areas that I refer to as gray areas in Scripture. Since I don’t want to use my sermon outline here, I will use three words to summarize how we deal with these areas.
The first word is excess. Before I do something that is in the gray area of Scripture, I need to ask myself the question, is this really necessary? Is doing this absolutely necessary for me to grow closer to Christ? If it’s not, then it is excess and we probably would be better off not doing it.
The second word is expedient. Is doing this going to be beneficial for me in my walk with Christ or beneficial to someone else learning about Jesus? Again, if it isn’t going to help me grow in my walk with Jesus or it’s not going to be beneficial in displaying the love of Jesus to others than I probably don’t need to do it.
The final word is emulate. They say the sincerest form of flattery is imitation. So I need to ask myself before I do something, if Jesus was in my exact position, is what I’m going to do what He would do? Remember we are called Christians, that is “little Christs” and so we are to represent Him to the world.
Here is the key verse in the chapter is verse 9, “But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.” The Bible may not specifically condemn something, but if it affects a weaker brother or sister in Christ then we are to refrain from doing it. We could also say the issue in the chapter deals with keeping unity. As a pastor for nearly 10 years, having served in two different churches I can tell you that the issues that cause the deepest problems and hurts in churches are not doctrinal issues. They are personal preference issues that cause hurt feelings, division, and dissension. Therefore, though we are free in Christ let us use our freedom to promote love and unity within the body of Christ.
By His grace and through His strength may we live for Him