Freedom: New Ethic
1 Corinthians 10:14-11:1
I. Our freedom in Christ frees us to a new ethic away from idolatry; 10:14-22.
14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf. 18 Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? 19 Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons. 22 Are we trying to arouse the Lord's jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
Demonic influence is the true spiritual form behind all anti-Christian religions. One of Satan's most subtle strategies is to confuse opinion with truth. "I'm spiritual but not religious" is a common claim today. Many in our culture think they are the final arbiter on spiritual truth.
These verses challenge popular view in modern culture that we work to recover the devalued spiritualties of ancient paganism. The biblical message is that these spiritualties have been rightly devalued. At the heart of each of the cultures is a worship of demons, knowingly or unknowingly. We are freed from the things of this world that want our allegiance, but in reality take our lives, purpose, and resources.
II. Our Freedom in Christ frees us to a new ethic for seeking good; 10:23-11:1
23 "Everything is permissible"-- but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"-- but not everything is constructive. 24 Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. 25 Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, 26 for, "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it." 27 If some unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience.
28 But if anyone says to you, "This has been offered in sacrifice," then do not eat it, both for the sake of the man who told you and for conscience' sake-- 29 the other man's conscience, I mean, not yours. For why should my freedom be judged by another's conscience? 30 If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for? 31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God-- 33 even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. 11:1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
a. We are free to stop doing what’s best for us but to do what’s best for others.
While all things may be permitted, not all things are edifying or promoting spiritual growth. Paul was saying that the standards by which I make my decisions cannot be just what is lawful or legal. I must operate by a higher principle of love for others. Love is the fulfillment of the law.
We should not create stumbling blocks for other Christians. There are a number of ways we can create stumbling blocks: the clothing we wear, to the attitudes we have (such as divisive or judgmental spirit), to places we go, and the activities we participate in. Things that make people think “is he/she a Christian?” are stumbling blocks. We are free to give up our rights for others.
b. We are free to minister to others.
Love and serve unbelievers, by no means participate in their sin, or encourage it in any way. If the action or attitude is questionable, then avoid it for the benefit of others.
c. We are free to everything for God’s glory.
Doing things for God’s glory is the greatest freedom in life. Paul did not limit the principle to eating food sacrificed to idols, but that whatever they do, do it all for the glory of God.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36