- Paul starts by quoting a cultural slogan, ‘All things are lawful’. A slogan– meaning, ‘This is what everyone is saying. This is the air we breathe. All things are lawful.’
Ok, that’s actually not too hard to get. That’s what everyone says in 2022 as well.
- Paul then applies that idea to the daily chore of going to the market and buying meat. ‘Buy whatever you want! All things are lawful!’
Ok. Still not hard.
- ‘But,’ Paul goes on to say, ‘if you get invited over to dinner, and your host serves you a steak, and while they set it in front of you says, ‘I got this from the market outside the temple to Artemis. It was offered to her as a sacrifice yesterday and now I offer it to you as a blessing. Be blessed.” Well, then you’ve got a problem.
- Huh? Why is that a problem? What’s wrong with the steak?
- Paul says, ‘Sure. You can eat it. God made it. The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. Idols are nothing.’ But he goes on to remind them, ‘You know this about God. But your host doesn’t. Your host offered this steak as a sacrifice and if you eat it, your host will think you love Artemis, the non-god-idol too! So don’t eat it. For the sake of your host.’
- It’s a matter of conscience. Not yours, but theirs.
- Paul adds a clarifier: ‘All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful… not all things build up. There are some things that you can do, but you shouldn’t do, for the sake of others. So that whatever you do, you can do it to the glory of God.’
Confused? Challenged? Wondering if you should not eat steak? Asking why you should care about someone else’s conscience when yours has enough wackiness of its own?
We all have questions.
Especially when it comes to culture and what’s ok to do. What’s ok for me? What is not ok because of someone else’s conscience? What brings glory to God? Why should I want to bring glory to God? Does God really care if I do this?
Alpha is a place to ask your questions. Any question.
Alpha starts tomorrow night. You get a delicious dinner, a brief through-provoking video, and a great discussion where you can raise your questions. About anything.
I invite you to try it tomorrow evening. It drops at 7pm. At the very least you get a free meal, but I bet you will get so much more. Maybe even a chance to ask a question.
Try it once. If you love it, keep coming back. If it’s not for you, try something else. We all have questions. Alpha’s a great place to ask them.