Scriptures

1 Corinthians 10

Introduction

“For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.” 1 Corinthians 10:1-5

With the possibilities of falling from grace mentioned in 1 Corinthians 9:27, Paul admonishes the Corinthians to be knowledgeable of the events transpiring in the Old Testament. 1 Corinthians 10:1-13.

The word ‘for’ connects the thoughts of chapters 6-9 with chapter 10. Liberties and expedient matters are left to the judgments of man. Those who practice liberties at a weaker brother’s expense cause not only the weak brother to sin but the strong brother as well again, Romans 14:15 and 1 Corinthians 8:12 is under consideration.

Paul is now going to paint a picture of the Christian’s responsibility to remain free from sin even when practicing a lawful liberty.

The word ‘all’ is used five times from verse 1-4. The significance of this word is that it includes ‘all’ God’s people not just a select few that had problems with liberties or some who had no problem with liberties. That which they were not to be ignorant of was the Old Testament Scriptures.

Just because one is good standing with God does not mean that he or she could lose that position through sin. Paul said that even he could, 1 Corinthians 9:27. Whether strong or weak one could sin and find themselves ‘rejected.’

While Israel travelled from Egypt they were led at night by fire and in the day by a cloud by the Lord, Deuteronomy 1:33. Exodus 14 records the event of Israel passing through the Red Sea by the power of God and the Egyptians were defeated as the walls of water collapsed upon them.

What the act of following Moses through the Red Sea and following the Lord through the cloud by day and fire by night did was to symbolically take the Israelites out of the control of Pharaoh of Egypt and into the authority of Moses and God.

The Christian’s baptism takes them out of darkness (servitude to sin) and places them under the ownership of Jesus Christ, Acts 20:28. Paul’s point, as developed in this chapter, is that baptism alone does not save you. Man must maintain good works.

1. All ate of the spiritual food (the Manna) (Exodus 16).

2. All drank of the same spiritual drink (the waters of Meribah) (Exodus 17:6).

3. The song of Moses is recorded in Deuteronomy 32.

At Deuteronomy 32:4, Moses refers to God as ‘The Rock.’ Paul tells us here that Jesus Christ is deity. Jesus was that Rock that nourished Israel through their wilderness wanderings. Here then we see the pre-existence and deity of Jesus.

4. That which brought ALL God’s people together was their common reception of God’s mercy.

‘All’ of verses 1-4 is now put into contrast with ‘most’ of verse 5. All were God’s people but most of them did not please Him. All were recipients of God’s mercy yet all were not grateful and faithful.

God caused Israel to wander in the wilderness of Zin for 40 years because of their disobedience. The Lord swore in His wrath that not one of the unfaithful Israelites would enter into Canaan, Deuteronomy 1:34-39.

God did not allow Moses to enter Canaan because of his and Aaron’s sin at Kadesh-barnea, Numbers 20:2-13. The point being they had disobeyed His commands. The only ones that did not fall into this ‘most’ category was Joshua and Caleb along with all who were under the age of 20 years old.

Let us keep the context before us. Liberties and expedients are lawful so long as they are not exercised at the expense of another brother’s faith. The strong brother who does not consider his weaker brother’s conscience in the matters of liberty and expedients is in sin himself. Sin is serious!

“Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.” We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test Christ, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.” 1 Corinthians 10:6-10

If the Corinthians would be unable to exercise self-denial in the case of their liberties they too faced the same fate as the Hebrews. Paul admonishes them to not lust after things that may cause self or a brother in Christ to fall. Baptism, Christ’s watchful protection, and partaking of the Lord’s Supper will not shield the saint from sin.

Israel decided to make a god after seeing that Moses delayed coming down off Mount Sinai, Exodus 32:6. They persuaded Aaron to fashion a golden calf. Results. 3000 Israelites lost their lives by the sword of the Levites, Exodus 32:28. They had violated God’s laws of idolatry, Exodus 20:1-6.

At the council of Balaam, both Midian and Moab sent whores to seduce the Israelites, Numbers 25:9. Results. 2324,000 people lost their lives; the conviction of Phinehas, Eleazar’s son, stopped the plague of God.

After learning that the Edomites would not let Israel cross Edom they had to take the long southern course around Edom. The way was difficult and they began to complain about the manna, Numbers 21:5+6. God sent snakes to bite them and kill them. The results.

‘Much people of Israel died’. Numbers 21:6

There were two occasions of the whole congregation murmuring against God. Numbers 14 they all murmured against God when the 12 spies had returned and gave the report.

Secondly they all murmured after leaving Kadeshbarnea and being led astray by the rebellion of Korah, Numbers 16:41.

The results again were devastating, all people 20 years and older who complained when the spies brought back the report of Canaan wandered in the wilderness for 40 years and died.

In the case of Korah’s rebellion, counting all the 250 princes, family of the Danites that were involved, and Korah’s family, 15,000 people died because of their rebellion.

“These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. 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 endure it”. 1 Corinthians 10:11-13

‘Admonition’, ‘nouthesia’, ‘warning’. Noutheteo is ‘to put in mind, to admonish’. Studying the Old Testament helps us improve our understanding and thinking about God and how He desires us to keep His precepts. We now are living in the last days, the end of the ages, Acts 2:17 / Acts 3:24 / 1 John 2:18.

This is a very important circular part of the argument. Circular in that Paul had stated,

‘If any man thinks that he knows anything, he knows not yet as he ought to know’. 1 Corinthians 8:2

Most believe they are the ‘strong brother’ who has all understanding. Through time and experience many expose themselves as truly the weaker brother because of their convictions regarding liberties and expedient matters.

Then again you have the truly stronger brother who understands liberties and expedient matters yet does not consider his weaker brother’s conscience. Whether weak or strong Paul admonishes all to take careful heed lest you fall in sin.

The weak brother may sin by pressing a liberty (binding or loosing where God has not bound or loosed) and the strong brother may sin by not considering the weaker brother’s conscience. Though each man is fully persuaded in their minds that they are right it is truly God’s laws that judge right from wrong.

Consider this word study

a. ‘Temptation’, ‘peirasmos’, ‘a trial’.

b. ‘Taken’, ‘lambano’ is ‘to take hold of, grasp, seize… to take by violence, carry off as prize or booty’.

c. ‘Bear’, ‘anthropinos’, ‘belonging to man, human…human affairs, man’s estate…suited to man’. God is true to Himself and provides man with the forgiveness of any sins (that is His promise to the humble and contrite. Isaiah 57:15 / 1 John 1:8+9.

d. ‘Suffer’, ‘eao’, ‘to let, suffer, allow, permit’.

e. ‘That ye are able’, ‘dunamai’, ‘to be able, capable, strong enough to do… to be able, i.e., to dare or bear to do a thing’.

f. ‘Escape’, ‘ekbasis’, ‘a way out, egress… a going out of, escape from’.

g. ‘Endure’, ‘hupophero’, ‘to carry away under, esp. to bear out of danger. To bear or carry by being under, to bear a burden… used metaphorically to endure’.

Paul addresses both the strong and weak brother here. The weak may be tempted to bind where God has not bound or loose where God has not loosed yet he is challenged to not do so.

The strong may be tempted to participate in a lawful liberty even if it may not always be the wisest decision, 1 Corinthians 8:9. A common trial takes place within the mind.

That trial may be in the form of one saying,

‘I can participate in this; however, my brother is offended in the matter. What shall I do?’

God has provided the way of escape through His instructions (don’t do it if it wounds your brother’s conscience, 1 Corinthians 8:12+13).

The way that God does not permit this trial to be more than the strong can handle is through His divine instructions. The one who has knowledge shall make a wise decision based on revelation. The way of escape is therefore His divine instructions. The learned will not falter yet the unlearned will sin.

Back to the subject of eating meats sacrificed to idols. 1 Corinthians 10:14-22

“Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 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? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.” 1 Corinthians 10:14-17

The word ‘idolatry’, ‘eidololatreia’ is from the root word eido. It is defined as ‘a form, shape, figure; image or statue; hence, an idol, image of a god’. The word eido is used in 2 Corinthians 5:7, ‘for we walk by faith, not by sight’. The act of worshipping an image based upon human perception is idolatry.

The Christian does not worship based upon ‘sight’, ‘eido’ but upon ‘faith’ (divine revelation). Many today are looking for a feel good see something religion. The word of God; however, is a system of instructions for Godly living.

Though the immediate context of 1 Corinthians 8-10 is eating meats that have been sacrificed to false gods by means of worship, there is other ‘idolatry’ that ought to be considered. Idolatry comes in a variety of forms other than worshipping false gods.

One may exclaim with vigour that they would not participate in idolatry, yet have no problem with worshipping God in unauthorized ways.

Consider Isaiah 46:12 in its context of idolatry

Those idolaters of Judah were

‘stout-hearted, that are far from righteousness.’

1 Samuel 15:23 states the nature of idolatry as well. ‘For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as idolatry and teraphim. Because thou has rejected the word of Jehovah, he hath also rejected thee from being king.’

The rebellious are stout-hearted and stubborn as is evidenced by their rejection of the authority of God. Saul did what he thought was best rather than what God commanded and so it was with Judah in the days of Isaiah. Many today want to do what they think best rather than following God’s divine standard.

The admonition is to ‘flee’ from this way of life and thinking and follow only the divine standard of God’s word. The word ‘wherefore’ takes into consideration all of the sins of Israel mentioned in verses 1-13 and therefore idolatry is associated with unauthorized practices.

Paul makes an appeal to the Corinthian brethren’s ability to reason. The word ‘judge’, ‘krino’ is to ‘consider’.

The chapter has revealed the purpose of the Old Testament. Those people of God who rebelled against the Lord’s authority were punished and so will those who reject God’s authority today. Now Paul commands Christians to flee from idolatry and its influence.

These commands and admonitions are found in the context of one who would press his liberties to the point of causing another brother to sin against his conscience in the matter.

Paul now calls upon the brethren to reason with him regarding the sinfulness of their actions in relation to fellowship. The problem gets even deeper. One who would press his liberties to the point of sin is out of fellowship with God because he may be fellowshipping error.

The ‘cup’, ‘poterion’, ‘cup, drinking vessel… the cup stands, by metonymy, for what it Contains’. An examination of the use of the word poterion in relation to the Lord’s Supper clearly identifies the substance of the cup rather than the cup itself. The cup designates the contents, i.e., the fruit of the vine which is a representation (not literal) of the blood of Jesus Christ.

The cup is a ‘blessing’ because it represents the freedom from sins through the blood sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. When Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper in Matthew 26, He said in regard to the bread and cup, ‘this is my body… and this is my blood…’ Matthew 26:26-29, though He were still alive.

Paul states a fact, i.e., when Christians partake of the cup, fruit of the vine representing Christ’s blood shed for the remission of sins, it is a ‘communion of the blood of Christ.’

Communion ‘koinonia’ means, ‘Fellowship, partnership, participation, communion’. Who is ‘partnering or participating’ in the blessings of the blood sacrifice of Jesus represented in the cup and the bread, (body)? Paul uses the plural pronoun ‘we.’

Christians, those who have given heed to the Gospel call, 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14/ 1 Peter 2:9. Fellowship, partnership and participation, therefore occurs during the Lord’s Supper.

The word ‘seeing’ reminds us that we are being reasoned with, 1 Corinthians 10:15. The ‘bread’ of the first clause is a representation of the body of Christ, Matthew 26:26ff.

The body of Christ is a phrase used to indicate the church of Christ, Ephesians 1:22+23. When the ‘many’ come together on the first day of the week to partake of the Lord’s Supper there is a communion, fellowship or sharing, taking place.

That common oneness that we share is in our being united in purpose with the Word of God, Jesus’ prayer in John 17 / 1 Corinthians 1:10 / Ephesians 4:1+2 / Philippians 1:27. The many are one as they partake of the one bread.

“Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? Do I mean then that food sacrificed to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. 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. Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he?” 1 Corinthians 10:18-22

Another example is given

The descendants of Abraham, Israel after the flesh, made sacrifices to God for sin offerings and various other oblations. When these sacrifices were conducted both priest and the one offering the sacrifice were allowed to eat a portion of the sacrifice, Leviticus 8 / Deuteronomy 12 / 1 Corinthians 9:13.

What transpired under such events? The one offering and the priest had communion, fellowship, with the altar. Again, to participate in idolatry is to have communion with evil is the point.

In 1 Corinthians 8:4+5, Paul’s point was that eating meats sacrificed to idols was a non-issue because the idol is really nothing. Chapter 10 sets forth the sinfulness of communing with others at the table and altars of idolaters.

Chapter 10:19 is stated to prevent the accusation that Paul is contradicting himself. He re-states the fact that an idol is nothing. This issue really does not revolve around the idol itself. The real issue is fellowship, idolatry, and authority. One who participates, shares or fellowships in the sinful unauthorized practices of idolatry is in error.

To eat meats sacrificed to idols at the idols temple with idolaters participating in idol worship is to commune or share with them in their unauthorized practices.

There was obviously a difference in eating the meats in the temple and eating the meats in the idol’s temple while worship was going on. One could not possibly participate in their worship!

To participate in the sacrificial meals of pagan deities was to have communion, fellowship, or sharers with demons. Some brethren apparently were unintentionally sinning in this case.

Eating the meats sacrificed to idols was a liberty; however, when participation in cultish activities occurred, even though one knew within that the deity was false, sin occurred.

Paul gives the reason for this conclusion in verse 21. Note that ‘the cup’ is used figuratively here, people do not drink the literal cup. Our one cup no classes brethren believe the cup to be of great significance yet the Lord places the significance upon the contents of the cup, 1 Corinthians 10:16.

To drink the cup of the Lord is to be one with the Lord and his people. To drink and partake of the cup and table of demons is to be one with demons.

God has set the limits of fellowship. We cannot claim oneness with God and His people yet partake of evil and unauthorized practices! The lines of true discipleship will not be marred. We are either in fellowship with God or not, 1 John 1:5+6.

If I claim fellowship with God yet walk in darkness, practice unauthorized acts, I “provoke the Lord to jealousy” compare this passage to 1 John 1:5-7. The Old Testament pictures God as a jealous God because His people were likened unto a spouse to Him, Exodus 20:5 / Exodus 34:14.

Isaiah and Hosea illustrated the unfaithfulness of Judah and Israel by likening them to an unfaithful wife that caused Jehovah anguish and jealousy, Isaiah 1:21 / Isaiah 57:3-8 / Hosea 9:1. Such ‘provoking’ of God to jealousy is prompting His anger, Deuteronomy 32:21.

A Christian who does such activity must consider himself very powerful and able to stand against the wrath of God and so Paul states, “are we stronger than he (God)?” The answer is obvious.

Paul makes practical applications to his teaching on the subject of eating meats sacrificed to idols. 1 Corinthians 10:23-33

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” 1 Corinthians 10:23-26

This is parallel to what he had previously said in 1 Corinthians 6:12, however he adds one thing, ‘not all things edify.’ The word ‘edify’, ‘oikodome’, ‘a building or structure’. Paul’s point is that even though a circumstance is lawful to participate in it may not edify all involved.

Wisdom must be used in Christians of all ages when participating in areas of liberty and expediency. Point being that we would not want to cause a brother in Christ to stumble over our liberties, verse 24 and 8:13.

The liberty under consideration, eating meats sacrificed to idols, may be lawful; however, the Christian must ask ‘will it edify’ all involved? To have any other mind is to be selfish and to lack brotherly love.

Paul told the Roman brethren,

“If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died.” Romans 14:15

The ‘shambles’, ‘makellon’ is ‘the meat market’. The Christian would find himself shopping in Corinth for groceries at the meat market with a variety of choices. Paul’s admonition is to ask no question regarding the origin of the meat but to buy and eat.

Clearly, some of the meat that came to the market was left over from a pagan sacrifice. Everyone knew it. No questions were to be asked with the intent of determining if the meat was sacrificed to idols for the sake of conscience.

Here was a case where the Lord did not demand an action to be done according to knowledge, conscience. The knowledge of the source of the meat was not needed because meat in and of itself is clean.

Reason

“For the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.”

The animal’s flesh was part of the ‘fullness’, ‘pleroma’ of the earth. The earth was comprised of many things, meat was a part of that sum total. The sum total of all the earth and its contents ‘is the Lord’s’ and is therefore clean.

Clearly, it was not the meat itself that was unclean. That which was unclean and sinful was the unauthorized idolatry. Many drugs are considered ‘the fullness’ of the earth; however, what men do with these drugs is sometimes unauthorized.

“If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience. I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience? If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?” 1 Corinthians 10:27-30

To be ‘disposed’, ‘thelo’ to go is ‘to will, wish, purpose’. You are the guest, eat what is put before you asking no questions regarding the source of the meat because ‘the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof’, 1 Corinthians 10:26b.

The word ‘conscience’, ‘suneidesis’ is once again used and means an awareness of one’s duty and surroundings through knowledge.

The scenario is pressed further: What if while you are sitting at a meal with the unbeliever he tells you that the meat served is from the sacrifice to a pagan deity?

In this situation, the Christian is bound by love and influence not to eat. Not because the meat is unclean but because the server or host needs to understand that making sacrifices to idols is wrong and unauthorized.

If the understanding brother eats the meats sacrificed to idols knowingly, he knows that all meats are clean regardless if they have been sacrificed to idols, while others have this common knowledge he may give the impression that he indorses idolatry and said unauthorized practices, the logic and application of this verse may be used in many activities that are not sinful in themselves yet to participate in it would give the non-Christian a wrong signal regarding the greater spiritual picture.

This verse pre-supposes the consequences of the strong Christian eating the meats set before him even though the meat’s origin has been made known. If the strong goes ahead and gives thanks for the food and eats it knowing that it is of the fullness of the earth he does no good in this situation. He is ‘evil spoken of’ because even the unbelieving Gentiles would see his hypocrisy.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God—even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.” 1 Corinthians 10:31-33

The determining factor as to whether or not I partake of a liberty or do anything, ‘whatsoever’ is whether or not the action will bring glory to God, 1 Corinthians 6:20. Jesus tells us that glory is brought to God by the Christian bearing fruit and abiding in the commandments of God, John 15:5-10.

One who does not abide by the authority of God brings God no glory. To bring God glory is to cause others to speak well of the Lord through our fruits!

The Jews, Greeks, and Church involved all classes of humanity. Paul would not be a stumbling block to any of these, 1 Corinthians 9:19. No liberty was worth closing the door of opportunity to the Jews and Greeks nor worth causing a week brother in Christ to stumble.

To seek his own prophet would be to participate in liberties no matter what others thought. Rather than selfishly casting away all other’s conscience on matters of these liberties and shut the door of opportunity, Paul would rather give up the liberty and help the needy souls and thus profit them. These chapters reveal the greatest love and concern for others.

Summary

Israel’s wilderness journey provides the second of Paul’s illustrations. Because Israel is an outstanding example of a people who had every possible advantage, which began so well, but failed miserably because of disobedience.

I think we may take it that, just as the illustration of the ‘Games’ rang a bell in the minds of the Greeks, the Jewish members of the church in Corinth would certainly feel the force of what Paul wrote about the journey of their forefathers from Egypt to Canaan, when hundreds of thousands died on a trek that took forty years, when it should only have taken a few months.

There is surely no greater single disaster in the entire recorded history of humanity. Of the vast multitude that Moses led out of Egypt, only two survived to lead their children into the Promised Land. They were happy to be released from the slavery of Egypt, but were not prepared to accept the responsibilities of freedom.

In fact, my personal opinion is that, as a Nation. Israel has been probably been the greatest failure in history, and I doubt if they ever really understood, or appreciated, the role that God planned for them to fulfil.

The tragedy was that the descendants of Abraham deluded themselves into thinking that there was something special, outstanding superior about themselves that caused God to Choose them to be His People. They reached this mistaken conclusion by completely ignoring what their own Scriptures said about their origins.

The blunt truth is that, although they have, for centuries, been at war with the people whom we today known as the Palestinians, both they and the Palestinians have the same ancestry.

They both descended from Canaan, the son of Ham, Noah’s second son, not from Shem as is usually thought. In other words, Israel is not Semitic, but is Hamitic, as Genesis 10:16 states. Notice the name ‘Amorites’.

Now look at Ezekiel 16 in which God issues a devastating condemnation of ‘Jerusalem’ by which is meant the inhabitants. In Ezekiel 16:3, God says

‘Your father was an AMORITE and your mother HITTITE’.

These were two of the tribes of Mesopotamia (also called Chaldea), where Abram lived in ‘Ur of the Chaldeans’. The word ‘Ur’ means ‘City’.

In Joshua 24, from verse 2, Joshua tells the assembled Israelites things they would scarcely like to hear!

“This is what YHVH, the God of Israel says; “YOUR fathers, including Terah, the father of ABRAHAM and the father of Nahor, dwelt on the other side of the River in old times, and THEY SERVED OTHER GODS.”

And, even when they developed into a nation, the Scriptures state that they were not the largest, but the smallest of nations! But, when God made a Covenant with them at Sinai, making them His own people, they began to regard themselves as superior to all other nations, failing to understand the reason why God had chosen them.

When He called Abram to leave Mesopotamia, it was not because Abram had found God, but because God had found Abram. God did not look at what Abram was in Mesopotamia, but at what he could become and role he was to play in bringing about salvation.

Paul states in Galatians 3:8 ‘the scriptures, fore-seeing that God would justify the heathen preached the Gospel to Abram saying, ‘In your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed’.

Although, even today there are people who seem to revere the Jews and regard them as a special, holy people, the fact is that they played no active, positive part in God’s plan, because they failed to recognize that they were intended to serve as a kind of object lesson, a visible display, of the blessings that come to a people when they submit themselves to the control of God.

This the Jews never did; time and time again the rebelled, disobeyed, served idols and were eventually rejected by God when He decided to create a new, obedient people, as Peter states in 1 Peter 2:9-19, and Paul even says,

‘Because of you, the Name of God is blasphemed among the heathen’. Romans 2:24

1 Corinthians 10:14 ‘warning against committing Israel’s sin’. By means of this reminder of Israel’s tragic failure, Paul issued a warning to the Church in Corinth, against idolatry.

His reference to the Lord’s Supper which follows, was intended for those Corinthian members who regarded themselves strong enough to sit at a feast in pagan temple, because they knew that an idol is nothing, and that the meat was nothing more than meat!

There is a resemblance, here to the warning he gives in 1 Corinthians 11, when he rebukes them for holding an Agape Feast, before going on to supposedly celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Notice the contrast between ‘The Table of the Lord’ and ‘The Table of demons’.

It is true that an idol is nothing. It cannot do anything. But evil rites are real and one cannot sit at the ‘table of demons’ without being unfaithful to the ‘Table of the Lord’.

Summary of 1 Corinthians 10

The objective of 1 Corinthians 10 is to illustrate by Old Testament examples and God’s supreme authority that participating in a liberty at the cost of a brother’s conscience amounts to sin. Paul meticulously compares the issue of practicing a liberty at a brother’s soul’s expense to sinful conduct.

Though ‘the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof’ applies to the condition of the meat, it is not expedient in all circumstances to partake of the liberty, 1 Corinthians 10:23-25.

A Christian who participates in a sacrificial meal with non-believers who are worshipping their deity is such a circumstance. Such activity would be having ‘communion’, fellowship or sharing, with an unauthorized practice. Though the meat is clean, the circumstances around the meat are not.

Eating the meat is not the real issue. The issue is in fellowshipping error, 1 Corinthians 10:14-22. The thought is clearly established; i.e., I cannot be a good influence on one for righteousness sake while participating in their sinful deeds, 1 Corinthians 10:30. Such actions have a threefold effect.

First, I have showed my convictions to be weak and thereby I lose my integrity among the unbeliever.

Secondly, I have sinned against God and breeched my fellowship with Him.

Thirdly, I have fellowshipped error rather than expose it.

When saints come together in one spirit to partake of the Lord’s Supper we are in ‘communion’ with each other, 1 Corinthians 10:16. Likewise, when I partake of sinful conduct with someone else I am in ‘communion’ with their sin and thereby am one in purpose with them in this sin, 1 Corinthians 10:17.

Rather than fellowshipping the sin and sinner, 2 Corinthians 6:14 we are commanded to expose their sin and remain separate, Ephesians 5:11 / 2 Corinthians 6:17–7:1.

The strong in Corinth knew the errors of idolatry and that there was truly only one God; however, they apparently participated in their unauthorized acts of worship and are labelled as sinners, 1 Corinthians 8:1-5.

Just because one is a baptized believer does not mean that we are immune from sinful choices. Such a choice will result in a falling away from the living God.

That which determines true fellowship with God is one’s stand in truth. The Lord will not permit the lines of fellowship to be marred.

Go To 1 Corinthians 11

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me"

2 Corinthians 12:9

MENU