Dear Children of God,
“Knowledge is power.” It can build up or cause harm. Let’s say I know something about how electricity works. Using it to help build a house with safe electricity – that’s powerful. But, using it to create dangerous circuits intentionally – the knowledge is still powerful – but it’s also harmful.
God has given us powerful knowledge in His word. Through our “undivided devotion to the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:35), He gives us knowledge of our freedom in the gospel – a powerful gift! However, this knowledge can be dangerous if we use it knowingly (or unknowingly) to lead our weaker Christian brothers and sisters to abandon their saving faith in Jesus Christ.
Many in the Corinthian church were new converts – “baby Christians” – still learning to walk in newness of life. Many pagan worship practices were still in force in Corinth. New Christians were still exposed to danger from those still worshipping the idols they had recently renounced. Experienced Christians knew eating “idol meat” was okay since idols were simply man-made gods with no power at all. However, Paul’s concern was for new converts lacking knowledge in the deeper truths of their new Christian faith. Many new coverts still believed one must avoid “idol meat” to keep from being swayed. Paul counsels experienced believers to be a good example to their weaker brothers and sisters by lovingly abandoning eating “idol meat” to keep them from stumbling and falling falling back into idol worship.
“Idol meat” isn’t an issue today. We know the gospel frees us to enjoy food or drink in moderation. We can participate in activities like dancing, music, and art. But what we decide to do with our knowledge of God’s Word and our freedom should be done in love that builds up Christ’s church. If something we appreciate knowingly causes our brethren to stumble, even if not prohibited by God’s word, He asks us to renounce, willingly and lovingly, some of our habits so we help build up Christ’s church. Then, our knowledge powerfully responds to God’s love by loving others.
Your Brother in Christ,