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Volume 30 - Page 140 of 179 Index | Zoom | |
It need hardly be said that this is not at all the Apostle's meaning. On the contrary, we
must repudiate the least approach to subtlety in dealing with Christian things, and must
seek to be open, and transparent in all our dealings. Why not then retain the literal
rendering of sumphero and read, "All things do not bring together"? This is in harmony
with Rom. 14:, where the believer is exhorted to seek to "edify", instead of
Chapter 8: of this same epistle to the Corinthians might be taken as a running
commentary on the principles of Rom. 14:
As a variant to the A.V., we give
"As to eating things which have been sacrificed to idols, we are fully aware that an
idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no God but One. For if so-called gods do
exist, either in heaven or on earth--and in fact there are many such gods and many such
lords--yet we have but one God, the Father, Who is the source of all things and for
Whose service we exist, and but one Jesus Christ, through Whom we and all things exist.
But all believers do not recognize these facts. Some, from force of habit in relation to the
idol, even now eat idol sacrifices as such, and their consciences, being but weak, are
polluted. It is true that a particular kind of food will not bring us into God's presence;
we are neither inferior to others if we abstain from it, nor superior to them if we eat it.
But take care lest this liberty of yours should prove a hindrance to the progress of weak
believers. For if any one were to see you, who know the real truth of this matter,
reclining at table in an idol's temple, would not his conscience (supposing him to be a
weak believer) be emboldened to eat the food which has been sacrificed to the idol?
Why, your knowledge becomes the ruin of the weak believer--your brother for whom
Christ died. Moreover when you thus sin against the brethren and wound their weak
consciences, you are, in reality, sinning against Christ. Therefore, if what I eat causes my
brother to fall, never again to the end of my days will I touch any kind of animal food, for
fear I should cause my brother to fall" (Rom. 8: Weymouth).
The Apostle also puts forward a second reason why the believer may be called upon to
limit his freedom. This second reason is expressed in the words: "I will not be brought
under the power of any." The word translated "bring under the power of" is exousiazo,
while the word "awful" is exestin. The latter gives us exousia, "authority" (as for
example, Matt. 8: 9). Exousiazo is also found in Luke 22: 25, where it is translated
"exercise authority". By using these words together, the Apostle seems to emphasize the
foolishness of boasting of one's authority over a thing, when the thing really exercises
authority over oneself. Have we not sometimes heard the remark, "This is a bad habit; it
is too strong for me"? Those who have to make such a confession have passed the
boundary line beyond which an innocuous thing becomes harmful.
The Apostle returns to this argument again in I Cor. 10: 23-33, and points out that the
conscience is a far more important matter than the exercise of mere privilege. The
statement: "Let no man seek his own" anticipates Rom. 15: 1, while the words, "If I by
grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of, for that for which I gave thanks?"
anticipate Rom. 14: 16.
While a thing may be "lawful" and "clean" in itself, there are two conditions that will
render it "unclean" or "unlawful":