1 Corinthians 10:23-33
- 1 Corinthians 10:23
All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all
things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.
This verse is almost a word for word repeat of 1 Corinthians 6:12.
Obviously, this may have been a common saying in Corinth. It would probably
have been used to attempt to justify sinful behavior. In our time we have
the saying in Christianity, “everything in moderation.” Wouldn’t that
everything include robbery, adultery, or drunkenness done in moderation? Do
you see the point? There is no such thing as any sin in moderation. Paul was
trying to emphasize to the Christians, including us, that all things are
lawful for us but they may be detrimental to us. For example, a person might
believe that drinking one beer is okay and if you did, you would not lose
your salvation but if someone sees you, you will lose your testimony. The
word “expedient” means “profitable” and there are things on this earth which
may seem harmless, but if done to excess, can cause the Christian spiritual
harm. The Bible uses the term “edify” which carries with it the meaning of
“building up.” If we are not careful, we will become involved in something
which will tear us down instead of building us up. Let us say you place your
children in Little League which meets on Saturday. Then a few weeks into the
season, they decide to play the games on Sunday morning. Well, if you are a
parent that obeys your children, then you will be at the field instead of
church. Basically, as Christians we can partake in anything which is not
sinful, but if it becomes sinful, then we must depart from it.
1 Corinthians 10:24
Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth.
Now Paul tapers the principle even closer. We are not to seek our own good,
but we are to seek the good of others.
(Philippians 2:4 KJV) Look not every man on his own things, but every man
also on the things of others. We need to maintain
our Christian testimony, not only in obedience to the Lord, but for the sake
of others. No Christian can claim they live only unto themselves. Jonah
tried to adopt that belief and it affected the ship he was on and all the
1 Corinthians 10:25
Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no
question for conscience sake:
Shambles - Marketplace or Butcher’s stall
Here Paul gives a principle that if a person goes to the market and buys a
chunk of meat, they are permitted to eat it because true Christians see
their food as a gift from God. In modern times the majority of food which we
purchase from the supermarket are all certified Kosher. The Christian is
buying food which has had a ransom paid to some Jewish Rabbi’s organization.
Companies spend millions of dollars for this ridiculous service and pass the
cost on to consumers. Many of those consumers are Christians. The error of
Kosher foods is saying that Christ never came and the law is being kept
until the Messiah comes. Now Christians pay millions of dollars indirectly
to a religion which denies the Deity of the Lord Jesus and actually condemns
Him. Now are we to stop buying food? Of course not, the Kosher tax is levied
on almost all products on the shelf and we have no control over it.
1 Corinthians 10:26
For the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof.
(Psalm 24:1 KJV) The earth is the
LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
Paul now quotes a text from the 24th Psalm. Everything in this world has
been created by God and is owned by the Lord (sorry Donald Trump).
1 Corinthians 10:27
If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be
disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for
Now Paul brings up another scenario. If a Christian is invited to a private
feast, not one in a pagan temple, and if that Christian goes, then they may
eat of the food which is brought to them and since they know the truth that
false gods do not exist, they can partake of it with a clear and clean
conscience. They know that only the true God is able to grow the food needed
for survival and to Him they give thanksgiving.
1 Corinthians 10:28
But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto
idols, eat not for his sake that showed it, and for conscience sake: for the
earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof:
Now Paul embellishes the situation a little. If a Christian is told by
someone that the food he is partaking of has been sacrificed to idols, then
that Christian should not partake of it, simply because that would mean it
is a part of the idolatrous ceremony. Pagan feasts always ended up eating
the food which was sacrificed to idols. So the Christian would have a clean
conscience concerning the matter, they are to abstain from eating the meals.
It is not only for the person who brought the word but it is for the
Christians themselves. This is where the principle of verse 23 comes in. If
the Christian ate the meal, they would not lose their salvation, but they
would be connecting themselves to idolatry. It would be like a Christian
going to Mardi Gras in New Orleans for the purpose of partaking of that
pagan festival instead of for the purpose of evangelizing.
1 Corinthians 10:29
Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my
liberty judged of another man's conscience?
Now Paul is stating that we must be sensitive to those who bring the message
to us that we do not sin against their consciences. Paul is stating a
principle here that even though the motives of a believer are unadulterated,
they can still be brought under the judgment of others. When a true
Christian eats the food which were sacrificed to idols, it means nothing
because the true giver of the food was God. Therefore, the true Christian is
eating with pure motives but if that Christian is told that they are eating
food sacrificed to idols, then even with pure motives, they can come under
scrutiny. We may qualify what we are doing as liberty but another it may be
qualified as sin, and as such, we must change our course of action. For
example, if you patronized the ABC restaurant and you knew they gave
donations to false religions, even if you eat there, you are not responsible
for their sins. Now someone comes to you and informs you that you are
indirectly supporting false religion, then for their sake, you need to stop
patronizing that place because you will have a tarnished testimony and you
will be sending a message to others that it is okay to give the Lord’s money
to false organizations. This is why it is a good thing to have our liberty
placed under scrutiny by others.
1 Corinthians 10:30
For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that
for which I give thanks?
Now Paul brings up another situation. If he, as a true believer, gives
thanks with a true heart, why should he be blasphemed. The word “evil” in
this verse is the word “blaspheme.” The reason is that even though our
motives may be pure but the effects of our actions are also taken into
account. This is why those Christians who feel it is okay to smoke or drink
alcohol, are actually hurting the conscience of others, which means it is
sinful. Basically, Christians cannot do anything they please under the guise
of Christian liberty. All actions that Christians take must be measured for
possible reactions by others. Woe unto us if we cause others to stumble.
1 Corinthians 10:31
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to
the glory of God.
This is the great principle whereby the Christian must act. All our actions
must be done to the glory of God, which means that no offense to others
should be included in those actions. The entire life of the Christian must
be lived to the glory of God. This means that if we are partaking in actions
which could have possible negative reactions in others, then we are not
acting to the glory of God. Our actions can have two negative results. The
first, is sinful actions in our life and the second, is sinful copycatting
in the life of someone else. Neither of which is to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:32
Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the
church of God:
None offence - Causing someone to stumble.
Here the biblical mandate is that the believer is not to cause anyone else
to stumble. That command not only applies to your testimony to other
Christians, but also to the religious unbelievers and the pagan unbelievers.
We are to live our lives in such a way that we will not cause anyone to
stumble. It is better to drink grape juice rather than alcoholic wine, and
culture means nothing. If a Christian is brought up in a beer or wine
drinking culture, then their testimony is to reject the alcohol and be a
shining light among the people. “You are still one of us” is not the
statement that a Christian wants to hear from the unbelievers which surround
him. It is better to hear “that religious fanatic won’t even have a beer.”
1 Corinthians 10:33
Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the
profit of many, that they may be saved.
Paul now makes himself the object. He states that he pleases all for the
purpose of evangelizing them into the kingdom. This is not saying that he is
a “man pleaser” which has the connotation of being one who is a pleaser of
the worldly. Paul states here that he is pleasing all to the glory of God so
that they may see that his testimony is true and that he does not get the
“hypocrites halo” for partaking of worldly sins with the unbelievers. Paul
had one goal in mind and that was seeing people become saved. People will
not inquire of Christianity if they see Christians running around with beer,
wine, and cigarettes, because it will stink of hypocrisy. Christians must
learn to deny themselves so they can win the Elect to Christ.
(Matthew 16:24 KJV) Then said Jesus unto his
disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up
his cross, and follow me. Once Christians begin to
see that our lives, when lived to the glory of God, will be a profitable
life for others, more will do it, hopefully.