Graceless

Chancie Martin by Chancie Martin @
I am currently learning about Saul/Paul's childhood and his transformation. I came across the following verses that I liked and at first it confused me like alot of the verses tend to do at first. He was answering a question he was asked by the Corinthians about food offered to idols. Which I think was neat because just yesterday, a very close friend/sister and I were getting our toes done. When we were finished getting our toes painted, the lady took us over to the drying station for the polish to dry. Now, I've been to this place many times but I have never seen a Shrine to Buddha. I wouldn't have thought to much about it but it actually had 2 real oranges and a few pieces of Chocolate in front of Buddha along with decorations. When we got in the car to leave, I told my close friend/sister about what I saw. We both were wondering what the two symbolized, why they did that and what would they do if someone actually went up to it and took the fruit or Chocolate. After all, we were in a nail salon packed with females and Chocolate is a females best friend! It actually had more to it than just eating food offered to idols as I keep reading. And, great advice to Believers.  
1 Corinthians 8: 1- About food offered to idols: We know that "we all have knowledge." Knowledge inflates with pride, but love builds up. 2- If anyone thinks he knows anything, he does not yet know it as he ought to know it. 3- But if anyone loves God, he is known by Him.
4- About eating food offered to idols, then, we know that "an idol is nothing in the world," and that "there is no God but one." 5- For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth---as there are many "gods" and many "lords"----
6- yet for us there is one God, the Father. All things are from Him, and we exist for Him. And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ. All things are through Him, and we exist through Him.
7- However, not everyone has this knowledge. In fact, some have been so used to idolatry up until now that when they eat food offered to an idol, their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8- Food will not make us acceptable to God. We are not inferior if we don't eat, and we are not better if we do eat. 9- But be careful that this right of yours in no way becomes a stumbling block to the weak. 10- For if someone sees you, the one who has this knowledge, dining in an idol's temple, won't his weak conscience be encouraged to eat food offered to idols? 11- Then the weak person, the brother for whom Christ died, is ruined by your knowledge. 12- Now when you sin like this against the brothers and wound their weak conscience, you are sinning against Christ. 13- Therefore, if food causes my brother to fall, I will never again eat meat, so that I won't cause my brother to fall.
By custom, Corinthians commonly dined in pagan temples (centers for civic activity) or else partook of meat portions that had been offered there. And, they (Corinthian Christians) wanted to know if it was basically ok to eat food offered to idols as they reclined "at banquet" in a pagan temple (vs 10) or feasted in a household that had received such things. Paul offers two guiding principles: First, "knowledge" by itself makes a person arrogant but "loves builds up" believers. second, it is not by "knowledge" that we are approved of God, but by our love for God we are "known by him." That is the knowledge that counts most. Thus no believer should allow his relatively unimportant knowledge to become a cause of arrogance. Paul's answer that believers technically have the right to eat the food offered to idols. The logic behind his answer is: idols are a "non-reality" and there is no God but one. (from a side not in my study Bible). And, he keeps going with his advice: Believers at Corinth needed to be mindful that some in their fellowship, being so used to idolatry and having as yet a "weak conscience," could be harmed by seeing Christians partake of food associated with idols. For those who knew that idols were nothing, Paul stated the obvious: Eating food (even food sacrificed to idols) does not make believers unacceptable to God. However, if a "weak" believer saw a knowledgeable believer dining in an idol's temple, he might attach religious significance to it and become confused about allegiance to Christ. The strong are not to be a "stumbling block" to the "weak." The strong can destroy a weaker person's allegiance to Christ.
Side note of my Bible: "Sowing the Seeds of Truth"
Many of the same issues that threatened to divide the Christian community in Corinth still plague us today. For example, the problem of an inflated ego (knowledge that puffs us up) is not easily overcome in a culture in which people make choices based on their own preferences and perceptions. The main challenge that Paul proposes is that Christians are to be motivated first and foremost by love.
It goes on to ask a very powerful question: How are your actions --- no matter how justifiable or innocent they may seem in your eyes----likely to affect the faith of those who are not confident or strong in their faith?
I can remember a time, a while back when I saw a person that was so drunk that they passed out. I can remember so clearly that I could tell you what he/she wore. I did not know that person personally at the time. One day, I saw that same person at a church I was going to at that time. I heard nice things about the person and even spoke to that person who was raised in church. But, because of what I remembered seeing that one night, it made me wonder about the church. I was a "weak" believer at the time and although I'm not as strong a believer as I hope to become, I still remember that night and that person who grew up in church and was a Christian. The stronger I become and the more my love and knowledge grow for Christ, I see the person differently. You see, God really does know we aren't perfect. He knows we stumble and he's there to pick us up and sometimes carry us. That person stumbled as many of us do. However, that same person was used to change another person's life and lead him/her straight to our Savior. In turn, he/ she is returning the good deed and leading others to Christ. As I read this to my oldest Son, he kept asking who the person was. My reply was: It's not important who the person is. What was  most important was God's great work using the less likely in our eyes to be the perfect person in his plan!    
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