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 sailors too.

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 conscience sake.

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.