ImmerseMessiah NLT - Page 148


Now regarding your question about food that has been offered to idols.
Yes, we know that “we all have knowledge” about this issue. But while
knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church.
Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very
much. But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes.
So, what about eating meat that has been offered to idols? Well, we all
know that an idol is not really a god and that there is only one God. There
may be so-called gods both in heaven and on earth, and some people actually worship many gods and many lords. But for us,
There is one God, the Father,
by whom all things were created,
and for whom we live.
And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ,
through whom all things were created,
and through whom we live.
However, not all believers know this. Some are accustomed to thinking of idols as being real, so when they eat food that has been offered to
idols, they think of it as the worship of real gods, and their weak consciences are violated. It’s true that we can’t win God’s approval by what
we eat. We don’t lose anything if we don’t eat it, and we don’t gain anything if we do.
But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others
with a weaker conscience to stumble. For if others see you—with your
“superior knowledge”—eating in the temple of an idol, won’t they be encouraged to violate their conscience by eating food that has been offered to
an idol? So because of your superior knowledge, a weak believer for whom
Christ died will be destroyed. And when you sin against other believers by
encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong, you are sinning
against Christ. So if what I eat causes another believer to sin, I will never
eat meat again as long as I live—for I don’t want to cause another believer
to stumble.
Am I not as free as anyone else? Am I not an apostle? Haven’t I seen Jesus
our Lord with my own eyes? Isn’t it because of my work that you belong
to the Lord? Even if others think I am not an apostle, I certainly am to you.
You yourselves are proof that I am the Lord’s apostle.
This is my answer to those who question my authority. Don’t we have
the right to live in your homes and share your meals? Don’t we have the
right to bring a believing wife with us as the other apostles and the Lord’s
brothers do, and as Peter does? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have to
work to support ourselves?

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