Verse of the Day Devotion: 1 Corinthians 8:9
“But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.” – 1 Corinthians 8:9
This is an extremely important principle that we as Christians should follow in all ways. This is also addressed to the church in Rome in chapter 14. What it is addressing is the issue of causing the weaker brothers and sisters to fall. And he uses the idea of eating food sacrificed to idols to describe this it. First, he makes it clear there are no idols. “Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one.” 1 Corinthians 8:4. What is meant here is that an idol is not a true being at all. It is not a living reality. It is a thing. Whatever is worshipped, it is not the idol but the spirit, demon, that is behind it. He says even if there are so-called gods, we only recognize the one true God. “For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.” 1 Corinthians 8:6.
However, Paul says that whether we eat it or not, it is no issue. “But food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat.” 1 Corinthians 8:8. It is not an issue, in reality, since there are no such things as idols. This is the liberty we live in. But back to our focus verse, we must beware. “But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.” 1 Corinthians 8:9. This is said also in Romans 14, “Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense.” Romans 14:20.
Now, this is an overarching concept. There are many things that are looked down upon by some Christians yet are assumed OK by others. For instance, drinking wine. There is nothing wrong with drinking wine, as long as it does not cause us to become even slightly drunk. However, if we do drink it and someone who is weak sees this, they may either judge us inappropriately or participate with us, even though they believe it is wrong to drink any form of alcohol. Another is in the eating of meat. “One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only.” Romans 14:2. There are various areas where this occurs, but it is important to remember what Paul said, we must be fully convinced in our own mind. If anyone does something they have any doubt that it is good, then they should not participate. “The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.” Romans 14:22-23.
In closing, we must be careful that we do not allow the liberty God has given us, and understanding this is ok because of this liberty, to not allow what we do to become a stumbling block which causes other younger and weaker Christians to sin. This is unacceptable. If we must choose between causing someone to sin or giving up something we enjoy, the latter should be our choice. If we love them, we will do what we can to being true to God. Really, is anything worth it that can cause a weaker Christian to stumble?
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.