In our reading today Paul is reining in this group of believers. He is explaining why some of their “rights” aren’t right at all. What they thought they had a “right” to do was putting them in danger.
The Corinthians’ were taking grace too far. They were playing with fire and thought that they would be forgiven in the end. Paul uses the example of Israel in the wilderness to counter their claim. Yes, Israel was under the law at that time but sin is sin and God didn’t change His mind on those points.
While Israel was wandering in the wilderness they experienced quite a bit of grace. They also experienced judgement for their sins. God didn’t stop each and every time one of them screwed up and punish them, but their continued turning to sin cost them their lives.
When I read back over the stories of Israel wandering in the wilderness I am blown away with their whining. God did SO MANY miracles on their behalf, right from the beginning. Why were they so discontent? I have always wondered about that.
Paul says that it was for our benefit that these events were recorded. We get to see the worst and the best of their journey. We get to read about their faith and their lack thereof. We learn how allowing sin into their lives, even on a small scale, corrupted them. It also affected their whole community, not just the individual committing the sin.
In our passage Paul focuses specifically on the Corinthians’ eating IN pagan temples. Their “knowledge” concerning their “freedom” in Christ convinced them that they could do anything with impunity. After all, Jesus already died on the cross for our sins so any sin we do is already covered. Yes, and NO.
Jesus died for our sins, ALL of them. But we have to ask for that forgiveness, not just assume it. This is especially true for deliberate and habitual sins. I don’t believe Jesus washes those sins away until He sees our heart truly repent of them. What good does it do to wash a person who won’t come out of the mud puddle? There is no amount of washing that will make that situation clean. In fact the more you add water to the mud puddle the more dirt you stir up into it and the dirtier it becomes.
Paul told the Corinthians that they were free to eat anything they purchased IN THE MARKET without asking whether it was part of a sacrifice. But once you knew that it was part of a sacrificial offering, you were to walk away from it. Eating in the temple SCREAMS the fact that what is being consumed is part of an offering. Eating in God’s temple signifies the sacrifice is to Him. Eating in a pagan god’s temple identifies the sacrifice as to them.
Idols have no power but Satan does. Partaking in Satan’s “offerings” is BEGGING for trouble. You open yourself up to whatever he wants to send your way. One example of this in our society is the Ouija board. This is offering yourself to whatever spirit wants to join you. BAD!!!! IDEA!!!!
That is exactly what Paul was saying to this group of people. “Do you really want to invite demons into your life? You can’t invite Christ and demons at the same time. They DON’T play well together. It is either one or the other; NOT both. Jesus doesn’t share with Satan.”
We have so many “idols” in our society today. We even have television shows that encourage us to create more; like “American Idol.” Anything we put above or turn to instead of God is also an idol. HE is our sole provider. He is our refuge and our rock. He is our security. He is our Lord and Savior. Seeking your salvation from anything and anyone else is an affront to Him.
Father God, forgive me for looking to anything or anyone else for my daily needs. Yes, I require money and a job and have to take care of my physical life. But money is NOT my security. My job is NOT going to save and sustain me. These things come and go but You are with me forever. When I put my trust in You I know You care for my physical needs. Thank You for that promise. The promise that because You love me I can trust You for everything, including trusting You to show me what is a want and what is a need. Thank You for that reminder again Lord. Help me keep everything else off Your throne.