JohnSWilson3 Blog

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
September 2, 2009, 1:56 am
Filed under: J First Letter to the Corinthians

As I read chapters 8 to 11 in Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth I can sense how Paul continues his theme of helping the body of Christ at Corinth to focus on Jesus.

He opened the letter discussing the issue of divisions in the church, mainly caused by those who seemed to be better than others, some appeared to be attempting to lead the assembly of believers versus letting Christ be the Head, serving them as Christ taught from the gospels. Paul referred to this as being immature, as this focus on themselves versus Christ had caused them to focus on the things of the world even letting sexual immorality occur without consequence and letting lawsuits between believers to occur instead of letting Jesus, His Body, handle the problems. Paul describes the importance of sexual purity and self control, with the focus on devotion to the Lord, not just in marriage but as a single and living a life of devotion to the Lord wherever you are.

In chapters 8 to 11 Paul now relates this same theme to idolatry. If our focus is on anything other than loving Jesus and His Body it is idolatry! Here Paul seems to focus on the need for brothers and sisters to be concerned for the conscience of one another, especially those who have a “weak conscience.” As Paul sees it “when you sin against your brother…you sin against Christ.” When I hurt another brother or sister, I hurt Christ! Man did God show me that the other day! I had offended my wife and I somehow justified it, which of course God convicted me of it, and realizing she is part of the body of Christ, I realized that I had hurt Christ from my offense! After God brought this to my attention I reconciled the issue with her.

Paul tries to help the followers of Jesus to recognize the importance of not causing “my brother to fall into sin” describing his way of life among them when he was there. While Jesus told the disciples when traveling to share the good news He said “when you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you.” But Paul made a point not follow this but worked “for a living” so as not to hinder the gospel in any way. He mentions how he made a point to “belong to no man” in order to serve “everyone” whoever they may be ethnically or religiously. Paul mentions how these things: idolatry, sexual immorality, unfaithfulness, and grumbling were because of not having a devotion to Jesus and His Body. “Flee from idolatry!” Paul even describes how men and women can often times focus on their weakness of the flesh, idolatry, instead of Jesus, men can be passive and reject responsibility and women can try and lord it over a man. Even when the believers were meeting together to worship Christ, their worship turned into focusing on how much of the potluck meal they could eat, gluttony, food as an idol, instead of Jesus!

Throughout this portion of his letter Paul keeps turning the problems over to the life of Jesus that is in them and to let that life live through them: “knowledge puffs up, but love builds up…but the man who loves God is known by God…I do all this for the sake of the gospel…No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it…I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say…Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others…so whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” Paul does not want “anyone to stumble” and doesn’t want anyone in the church to cause anyone to stumble either, even if they are believer or not.

Lord help me to not let anyone stumble whether they are a believer or not by what I say and do! We need to be like Paul and realize when we cause a brother to sin, no matter what it might be, we sin against Christ! “For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.” Isn’t that the bottomline?