Updated: Jun 3
1 Corinthians 8:9-13
9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.
10 For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;
11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?
12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.
13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.
I see several things in these verses that speak loudly to my heart. All Christians have liberty in Christ. We do not walk in fear of loosing our salvation because a bad thought may have went through our mind or we were so busy we didn't pray. We can eat in a restaurant where alcohol is sold and not be condemned by our Father in heaven.
The church is filled with all types of believers, some have strong mature faith while others are like newborn babes with weak faith. The strength of a person's faith does not depend on the duration of their faith but rather the nurturing of their faith. Some aged believers have weak faith while some younger believers have developed a strong faith.
Paul warns the stronger Christians to be mindful of the weaker Christians. He actual says that a mature Christian who is not vigilant can actually sin by living out his liberty before a weaker Christian. The example he gives is a Christian whose faith is feeble was crushed when a believer ate meat in his presence.
It was permissible for one to eat meat, but those who were lacking in understanding were deeply offended. Paul said in situations like this it is better to abstain from eating meat in the presence of weaker brethren.
In the past year, because of the condition of the present day church, I have been extremely careful not to hurt a another brother with my liberty in Christ. My demeanor is more grave, I don't participate in folly, I watch my words, and I have reinforced the boundaries of my faith. Not because I was walking in darkness, but because I didn't want to offend a weaker brother.
Every church is different, but we don't live in an hour where we can test the limits of our liberty. Walk in the spirit of the church you belong to. Just because it's ok to do something doesn't mean it's always ok to do it. In a more conservative age I may have exercised my liberty more often, but in these last days I have found myself returning to my roots.
Pastor Ken Smith