Sunday, March 22

Someone for whom Christ died

Scripture: Joshua 15-17, 1 Corinthians 8

1 Corinthians 8:9–12  But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble. 10 For if others see you—with your “superior knowledge”—eating in the temple of an idol, won’t they be encouraged to violate their conscience by eating food that has been offered to an idol? 11 So because of your superior knowledge, a weak believer for whom Christ died will be destroyed. 12 And when you sin against other believers by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong, you are sinning against Christ.

Observation

The ancient Roman world was filled with temples to different gods; people worshipped at these temples by offering animal sacrifices.  They believed that the gods inhabited their sacrifices.  So when the meat from the sacrificial animals was sold in the marketplace, many believed that buying and eating that meat was also an act of worship of that god.  

When one became a Christian, he abandoned the worship of other gods to follow Jesus.  He stopped frequenting the temples.  But what about eating the sacrificial meat that was being sold in the market?  No more barbecues?

Paul says that we know there is only one God, that an idol is no god at all—and by extension, meat that is offered as a sacrifice is just meat, nothing more.  But not everyone knows that, so when they see a Christian eating meat that has been sacrificed to an idol, they are tripped up.  They think it’s ok to worship something other than the true God.  

In this situation, our knowledge may cause harm to another.  V. 11 “So because of your superior knowledge, a weak believer for whom Christ died will be destroyed.” Love must trump knowledge.   

Application

Today we don’t disagree about meat sacrificed to idols, but there are plenty of other issues about which we can disagree.  Love must trump knowledge.  We must remember that the other person is someone for whom Christ died.  Jesus didn’t die for the issue; He died for the person with whom we disagree.  If we keep that uppermost in our minds, we will treat them with grace and respect.  We might even be willing to adapt our behavior to avoid hurting them!  Don’t let your principles override your love for the other.  Don’t let your knowledge destroy someone for whom Christ died!

Beyond that, it’s helpful for me to remember that each person I meet and interact with is someone for whom Christ died.  This person is of infinite value to God—so valuable that God would give His only Son for him/her.  When I stop to see each person that way—as someone for whom Christ died—it changes the way I think about them and treat them.  

Today, I will remember that each person is someone for whom Christ died—and treat them accordingly. 

Prayer: Lord, remind me with each interaction today—face to face, on the phone, texting—that this person is someone You love, someone for whom Christ died.