WHY IS MY LIBERTY JUDGED

1Co 10:27-30  “If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake. But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof: Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man’s conscience? For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks?”

While there are many good reasons to have fellowship often with those who believe in the love of God and the salvation that comes through Jesus Christ our Lord as revealed by the Holy Ghost in our hearts, we are under no compulsion to limit our fellowship exclusively to brothers and sisters in the faith. Jesus said that, like Him, we are not of the world; nonetheless, like Him, we have been sent into the world (Joh 17:18).  It stands to reason that we will have occasion from time to time to dine with unbelievers.

While this feasting may be an actual meal, it can also indicate any activity that we might partake of together (i.e. a business trip, a ball game, etc.). Since Paul has already established that idols are nothing and the things offered to idols are nothing, he advises us that we are not under any obligation to try and ferret out how our host is disposed to these things. In other words, we are not required to dig into the others life to determine if going to a sporting event is of more importance to him or her than worshipping the true and living God.

While there are those who are offended by our worship of Christ, we are not to use our worship for the purpose of causing offense. We should always behave ourselves, regardless of where we are, in a manner that is God-honoring. However, for the sake of the other’s conscience, we do not have to seem contentious about their motives.

If it is clearly made known to us that this thing is an idol or offered to an idol then it becomes a totally different situation for us. It may be that it has been called to our attention by another believer or by the unbeliever himself. Should another believer point out to us that our host is using the event to display disdain for God, then we should refrain from participating. This should be done, not because we ourselves would actually be harmed by the activity, but because a brother who is weaker in the faith might be offended in our seeming unconcern for what they see as a sinful endeavor.

On the other hand, our host could be setting before us a temptation in an effort to prove that our professed love for God is not real. It may be they are trying to ensnare us so that they may point to our participation as proof of hypocrisy. Perhaps they intend to mock God as an outmoded idea. Again, for their sakes we should refuse to participate in any portion that we have been showed to be for the sake of upholding anything that could be considered as an idol.

The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness of it is His. What Paul is telling us here is that there are plenty of other ways that we might partake when we are sent into the world that do not leave any room for doubt as to out devotion to Jesus. Again, this is not a selfish thing: we do this for the sake of another’s conscience. Since God has set before us a great bounty, why should we be evilly judged by participating in anything that is going to hurt a brother or encourage an unbeliever?

May God give us grace to never use our liberty as an occasion to the flesh, but in everything seek to give Him honor every day!

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