Freedom in Christ is truly freeing. It is true freedom. Is it freedom to sin? Is it freedom to do what YOU want to do? I think in this American culture we miss what it truly means to be free in Christ.
Christians are made free FROM the grip of sin and free TO worship God. No one who is freed from sin, was freed to worship themselves at the expense of others. This is where some get the freedom confused. It is this confusion is due to the blind self idolatry. Here is why:
1 Cor 8:1-20
“We know that “we all have knowledge.” Knowledge inflates with pride, but love builds up. 2 If anyone thinks he knows anything, he does not yet know it as he ought to know it. 3 But if anyone loves God, he is known by Him.”
Here Paul puts the contrast between the self (pride) and selfless (love).
“4 About eating food offered to idols, then, we know that “an idol is nothing in the world,” and that “there is no God but one.”
We have the knowledge (Paul’s example here is food) that eating food to idols is nothing does that mean he will then just eat freely and not care what others think?
“9 But be careful that this right of yours in no way becomes a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For
if someone sees you, the one who has this knowledge, dining in an
idol’s temple, won’t his weak conscience be encouraged to eat food
offered to idols?”
Just because some people are FREE and are not consciously effected by a weaker mindset does not mean that they are to be selfish and careless about others who are weaker in conscious.
- Drinking beer in front of a newly recovering alcoholic, knowing they are.
- Half naked pictures of yourself on social media, knowing some who may have struggled with sexual sins will see them.
Then, because the freed person acts careless and selfish, having knowlege of their freedom, causes the weaker brother to sin; they are just as guilty.
“11 Then the weak person, the brother for whom Christ died, is ruined by your knowledge. 12 Now when you sin like this against the brothers and wound their weak conscience, you are sinning against Christ.”
If the freed person does not care about the other weaker brother, their pride has blinded them and in their selfish blindness, they are the cause for their brothers to stumble. GOD declares them, the freed, guilty of sin
“13 Therefore, if food causes my brother to fall, I will never again eat meat, so that I won’t cause my brother to fall.”
Paul does NOT tell is brother to look away or go somewhere else so He does as He pleases, inconsiderate of the weaker.
PAUL modifies his own actions out of SELFLESS LOVE and CARE of the conscious of the weaker brothers. The key is caring enough to recognize when someone is weak or knowing when someone is weak and doing something about it or not doing something.
If he Paul would NOT eat meat even with his knowledge of freedom for the sake of his brothers; what should a Christian do with a beer in front of a struggling brother? Or what should a Christian do with pictures of himself displayed for a struggling brothers and sisters to see?
Would Paul tell them to just look away? Did Paul tell us to tell our weaker brothers to just look away or just go away? Would he tell THEM to modify their behavior? NO, Paul selflessly modifies his own self for their sake! THAT is sacrificial selfless love and truly free. Free from the blinding pride of selfishness and an inconsiderate sinful nature of our weaker brothers and sisters.
Going back to verse 1, “LOVE BUILDS UP”. Builds up who? The weaker brother… but who “inflates with pride”? The one with the knowledge of true freedom.
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