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  • Now you asked about eating things that have been offered to idols. You already have the knowledge to answer this, but don't think that knowledge alone is all you need. For us, knowledge is good, but compassion is better.

    When you act like you are superior to others, they are convinced you know nothing at all. The man who loves God understands this, and acts with compassion for others.

    So, about eating things offered to idols: Idols mean nothing to us, because we know there is only one God. Others may believe there are lesser gods who control crops and weather and even fertility, but we know there is only one God, the father who has created all things, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, who has redeemed us from our sins, and that they are one and the same.

    Many people do not understand this and continue to make sacrifices to idols. Now if a person eats of this, knowing it was offered to the idol and believes the idol to be false, their conscience will be troubled by this. They may feel they have betrayed their faith in doing so.

    But God does not care what we eat. Eating does not make us who we are, nor does fasting from such foods affect the way God views us.

    However, just because it is lawful for us to eat, it probably is not wise. Those who are young in the faith will not understand if they see you eating what has been offered to idols. They will question your faith if they see you eating in the temple of an idol.

    If your witness is tainted by such a thing, it may cause them to question your commitment to the faith. And if your witness causes them to question your faith, doesn't it stand to reason you could be the cause of them falling away from Christ?

    Christ died for all men, the weak and the strong. So if He sacrificed Himself for them, shouldn't we be willing to sacrifice our own desires for them as well?

    If eating things sacrificed to idols causes our brethren to doubt, I will not eat them. I will nothing to cause my brother or sister to lose their way.

    Being a Christian is more than a name

    This won't be the first time you hear this from Paul in Corinthians. Paul is attempting to turn the church around from their associations with the local pagan temples. In order to do this, he has to temper his admonitions with reason.

    In the book The Last Temptation of Christ by Nikos Kazantzakis, Christ is represented as a man tempted by all things men are tempted by. While some scholars and ministers have condemned the book and the movie directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Willem DaFoe and Harvey Keitel, Kazantzakis's view of Jesus is a man who resists all temptations, even the temptation to come down from the cross to live our his life as a man.

    That the temptation was real is the basis for our faith, for if Jesus was not fully tempted as we are, what hope have we of ever achieving the likeness of Christ in our lives. Christ's life was never about his needs or desires, but about serving mankind.

    When we accept the Lord as our savior, we surrender the right to live for ourselves. Paul is trying to get the Corinthians to understand they are no longer allowed to think of themselves above others.

    To Be Continued in Chapter 9.

    I hope you are all having a blessed day, and that you will be with family and loved ones to gather tomorrow for a day of Thanksgiving.

    Fred
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