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Eating Without Harming Conscience: 1 Corinthians 10:25-30

March 3, 2024 Preacher: Bob DeWaay Series: 1 Corinthians

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 10:25-30

As Paul teaches about the problems in Corinth for Christians who encounter pagan temples and the meat that is sacrificed there, he gives moral guidance for them. The first point he makes is to eat anything found in the meat market without concern for conscience since the Lord own all things and provided for us. He cites Psalm 24:1 to prove that. In cases where no religious claim is made, believers may eat. The next scenario is when a Christian is invited to an unbeliever’s home.

In that case, if the issue of the source does not come up, eat whatever is provided without concern for conscience. Other matters get more complicated as Paul gives guidance when someone announces that the meat is offered to idols. In the sermon we deal with various scenarios, including who might have said this, how many believers there may have been, and whose conscience is under consideration. Some scholars have suggested translating the word for conscience here, “self-awareness.” I cite various scholars and defend that translation here.

Some of the “strong” or “knowledge” in Corinth might harm other Christians who were recently saved out of paganism may be harmed by being put in a situation they cannot handle without sensing harm or guilt. Even though food in itself is from God and can be consumed with thanksgiving, the possible sourcing (from pagan sacrifices) makes it off limits.

Paul then goes to a logical discussion about how wrong it would be to give thanks for food and then be criticized by eating the food. To help us make clear applications of this, I finish this sermon by preaching from Romans 14:13-17 which deals with the same topic.

Christians must pay attention to the “one anothers” in the Bible and not bring harmful judgments on each other. We may not have temple sacrifices in our day, but we easily slide into judging each other based on food by claiming that certain foods came from production processes we do not like or contain ingredients some claim are harmful.

The result is when a Christian becomes sick, they can be shamed into thinking that they ate the wrong things and that is their problem. We must allow liberty about food to be true liberty and not find ways to exclude Christians from the fellowship they need based on our own food convictions.