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Words of Faith 6-15-17

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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1 Corinthians 8

   [9] Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. [10] For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol's temple, won't he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols? [11] So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. [12] When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. [13] Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.


     The word for stumbling block is "scandalos" from which we get the word scandal. Literally, it was the word picture of an unnoticed stone in the path that caused one to pitch forward and be injured. Scandal does that as we know.

     Scandal is a fall that causes others to fall. It destroys some of what has been accomplished. It erodes confidence that must then be rebuilt. Paul suggested that even our freedom, something perfectly moral under the grace of God, can sometimes become a scandal in the life of another believer.

       Paul posed the situation in which a weak Christian saw a knowledgeable brother enjoying a meal in an idol's temple and was, by this example, encouraged to join in, even though he could not do so with a clear conscience. As a consequence, the conscience of this weak believer was bruised or even seared. He may be emboldened to do that which is actually sin to him and his capacity to distinguish right from wrong may be lost.

       "To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted" (Titus 1:15). This is not what God wants us to do with our freedom.

       For Paul there was no freedom that was worth causing a brother or sister to fall into spiritual ruin. For Paul, the selflessness of Christ was an example for the knowledgeable. If Christ loved this brother so much that he was willing to give up His exalted rights and even His life (Phil. 2:6, 8), surely the strong could give up his right to eat such meat. To be arrogantly indifferent to the need of weaker Christians results in sin not only against them but also against Christ of whose body they are members.

       Paul preached real freedom: It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery (Gal 5:1). Paul did not say that a knowledgeable Christian must abandon his freedom to the ignorant prejudice of a "spiritual" bigot. The "weak brother" in this situation was one who followed the example of another Christian, not one who carped and coerced that knowledgeable Christian into a particular behavioral pattern.

       Also it was unlikely that Paul saw this weak brother as permanently shackling the freedom of the knowledgeable Christian. The "weak brother" was not an omnipresent phantom but an individual who was to be taught so that he too could enjoy his freedom.

       How do we apply this? We need to "be careful", take great care, in matters that may cause others to pitch headlong or veer off balance. Lifestyle issues that are a matter of freedom must still be submitted prayerfully to the Lord to see if they are beneficial.


       Lord, help me to see the big picture and have love for those who may be weaker in their conscience than I am. Help me to be patient with those who are at a different point with You. Lead me away from arrogance and toward a benevolent concern for those who are growing in the Lord. In Jesus' Name.


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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2007, 2017

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)      

2820 Business Center Blvd.

Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.