Voce mea ad Dominum

Random thoughts from an amateur theologist.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Lawful or Beneficial?

Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. Avoid giving offense, whether to the Jews or Greeks or the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in every way, not seeking my own benefit but that of the many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. - 1 Corinthians 10:31-33

St. Paul was questioned by the Church at Corinth about many things, and in this case he is responding to their question about eating meat offerred in sacrifice to pagan idols. It would appear that the Christians at Corinth had questioned whether certain meats offered in the market or at the homes of pagans would be lawful to eat. St. Paul says that in good conscience, if you buy meat in the market place or eat meat at a pagan's house and you were not informed that the meat was from a sacrifice to an idol, then it is lawful because all things belong to God in the first place. However, if they were specifically told that the meat had been offered to a pagan idol, that was a completely different circumstance. Take home message? It ain't the meat that is the problem, it is who is offering it and for what purpose.

But I was most interested in the summary that St. Paul offers at the end of chapter 10. It is a summary of what it means to follow Christ. We should not fight and bicker with one another. We should not offend anyone, but we should always consider the other person and what is in their best interest in all that we do. When we act in this manner, then everything that we do will give glory to God the Father through his Son, Jesus Christ.

Put simply, St. Paul is appealing for us to be imitators of Christ by imitating him. And even more profound, St. Paul is entreating us to love, because love always puts the needs of the beloved above our own needs. This love that St. Paul describes is the virtue of Christian Charity which means that we will seek the benefit of all, even those with whom we are at odds (such as the Jews and the pagans or the guy at work or school who is on our last nerve). After all, isn't this exactly what Christ did for us while we were yet sinners?


At 9:39 AM, Blogger Peter said...

"Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God."

"Beer is proof that God loves us, and wants us to be happy."
--Benjamin Franklin


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