1CORINTHIANS 10:1-33 (NIV – UK)
Warnings from Israel’s history
1 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptised into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: ‘The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.’ [Exodus 32:6] 8 We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did – and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. 9 We should not test Christ, as some of them did – and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did – and were killed by the destroying angel.
11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
Idol feasts and the Lord’s Supper
14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.
18 Consider the people of Israel: do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? 19 Do I mean then that food sacrificed to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons.21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. 22 Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
The believer’s freedom
23 ‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say – but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’– but not everything is constructive. 24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.
25 Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, 26 for, ‘The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.’ [Psalm 24:1]
27 If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. 28 But if someone says to you, ‘This has been offered in sacrifice,’ then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience. 29 I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience? 30 If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?
31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God – 33 even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.
ALL FOR THE GLORY OF GOD
Paul presents us with a huge principle for the Christian life – ‘whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God’ (v. 32). Encapsulated in that sentence is a call to a radical state of heart, mind and lifestyle. A completely radical change of heart is required for us to even want to do everything for the glory of God, never mind actually achieve it! That state of heart can only come in relationship with Jesus – he is the only one who can soften our hearts towards him. It is only then that we will put all our own interests aside – not seeking our own good (v. 33) – but share God’s heart for the many – ‘that they might be saved’. God wants to save all people through Jesus Christ – and he wants to use you and I to achieve that. What is required is a people living radical lives centred on Jesus, doing all things for the glory of God.
Question: Would you say that you seek to see those around you be saved?