1 Corinthians 10:14-33 NKJV
14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak as to wise men; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 17 For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.
18 Observe Israel after the flesh: Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? 19 What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? 20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons. 22 Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?
23 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. 24 Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.
25 Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience’ sake; 26 for “the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.”
27 If any of those who do not believe invites you to dinner, and you desire to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no question for conscience’ sake. 28 But if anyone says to you, “This was offered to idols,” do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience’ sake; for “the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.” 29 “Conscience,” I say, not your own, but that of the other. For why is my liberty judged by another man’s conscience? 30 But if I partake with thanks, why am I evil spoken of for the food over which I give thanks?
31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
When Christians partake of the Lord’s Supper, they eat Christ’s very body and drink His very blood which was sacrificed on the cross for the sins of the world. By eating the sacrifice we have fellowship—or communion—with Christ’s body and blood and receive the benefits won by His death.
Israel ate the sacrifices they offered in the tabernacle and temple and by that eating had fellowship—or communion—with the true God, receiving His promised benefits by faith. But when Gentiles eat the sacrifices they offer to idols in their temples they have fellowship—or communion—with the demons who inspired the idol. If a Christian has fellowship with demons by eating the sacrifice to them in their temple, they arouse the Lord’s jealousy by their idolatry.
However, Christians can buy meat at the marketplace and eat as guests in others homes without harm to their conscience. If the host discloses that the meat was sacrificed to an idol, the Christian isn’t to eat it, not for the sake of his own conscience, but for the sake of the host’s conscience who told them. Christians weren’t to worship in idol temples. Neither were they to go searching for things to avoid based on their origins or how they were made. Christians should only abstain from the things of this world if those things trouble the conscience of others. This is using Christian freedom for the sake of others so that their consciences aren’t burdened.
The rubric for Christian freedom is simply: “Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.” Consider Christ. The bruised reed He did not break. The smoldering wick He did not snuff out. He came not to be served but to serve. Christ did not seek His own good because love “does not seek its own” (1 Cor. 13:5). We have fellowship with Christ and receive His benefits in the Lord’s Supper, which strengthens us to love our neighbor and seek their good.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, fill us with your love so that we, having partaken of your sacrifice and received Your benefits, may live for the good and benefit of our neighbor. Amen.