Thursday, May 14, 2015

Grace And Idolatry in 1 Corinthians Chapter 10

I enjoy reading scriptures and asking God, 'How does this apply to me?'

I've been reading 1 Corinthians chapter 10 this morning

"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry." - 1 Corinthians 10:13-14 ESV

The chapter goes back forth on the issue of idolatry. Israel fell into it again and again.

"For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were" - 1 Corinthians 10:1-7a ESV

The Church was face to face with it in the Roman culture.

"For 'the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof.' If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. But if someone says to you, 'This has been offered in sacrifice,' then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience - I do not mean your conscience, but his. For why should my liberty be determined by someone else's conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks? So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." - 1 Corinthians 10:26-31 ESV

The way of escape we are looking for is not just a way of escape from the personal temptation that may assault us. We have that and thank God we do. Jesus Himself is our way of escape. Practicing the presence of God is one aspect of that escape.

Paul is addressing culture in this chapter. Israel's culture and the Roman influenced culture of the day. Food sacrificed to idols was everywhere. The question is, 'Where is the focus when we sit down to eat together?'

What we do or don't do is glory oriented, capacity building and capacity preserving. God sees us all the time. People only see us some of the time and that is good. What we do in those times is on display and knowing that is part of our way of escape.

God dealt with Israel the way that He did for His name's sake. It was not sin oriented judgement because sin is paid for. It was reputation oriented. That is powerful. Israel had a national reputation and we have an individual one. God had to deal with Israel again and again because He loved them and they needed to be drawn back and saved from their own selves over and over again. Is that what we want?

Lust turns wood into idols. Grace turns idols back into pieces of wood. How I see the lumber of life around me adds to or removes from our portrayal of God's reputation. Our freedom and love proclaims that our God is a good God. Our bondage sends the wrong message.

If we focus on grace then at dinner that is what the person in front of us is seeing.

Grace is all wrapped up in our walk with God. Grace is the basis of our walk. The freedom of grace and the constraining love that a graced out person reveals. We are free to eat the food no matter what idol it was sacrificed to because we know that is all garbage anyway but we are also free to say no if it will hurt our brother because grace has loved us so very much that our hunger or desire to exercise our rights can't dictate our behavior.

Glory. What a high thought.

That the God of Heaven is glorified in our little lives is amazing. I want people to see God as He really is through my life. Grace is how God really Is. He Is holy and gracious at the same time.


No comments:

Post a Comment