Meat issues – part two

We continue on the meat issue (part 2/3).

Freedom:

Some in the early church ate meat with thanksgiving, given that an idol is nothing and that “the earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” (1 Cor 10:26). Others ate only vegetables, because their consciences were bothered by sacrificial foods (1 Cor 8:7), presumably because they felt that food involved in idol worship was unclean.

God accepts (14:3) both the meat eater and non meat eater.

Paul gives some guidance on approaching disputable matters – we are to be fully convinced in our own minds (14:5) of our choice, we do what we do with thanksgiving to God (14:6), recognising that we belong to God and live for him (14:7-8), and knowing that we will give an account before God (14:12). Of course, the “believer’s freedom” does not extend to choosing whether or not to love and forgive our neighbour, or whether to engage in sins such as jealousy and sexual immorality, as there are clear commands regarding these, even in the preceding chapter (13:8-14).

Responsibility:

We have freedom as long as we are accountable to God, but our freedom is also to be guided by our responsibility to act in love (14:15, 1 Cor 10:23-24), promoting unity and mutual encouragement (14:19). The meat eater should not judge the non meat eater (14:1), nor encourage them to act against their conscience (1 Cor 8:10-12), or cause them to stumble in any way (14:20-21). More important than the meat eater or non meat eater’s views on the matter, is a focus on building God’s kingdom in “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (14:17).

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. – 1 Cor 10:31-33

Judgement:

Those with differing opinions on disputable matters, are not to quarrel with, judge, or look down on one another over such matters (14:1-3). Not to say that these are unimportant issues, but these matters are between ourselves and God (14:22), and God himself will be our judge (14:4, 10).

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2 Comments

  1. Nice, sister. I enjoy reading your argumentation very much. Apparently you have a good understanding of Bible and skillful applied those verses. This help me understand the scripture as well. I think when I have time I would like to write some review to share or discuss my opinion about those biblical issue with you :)

    吃肉的问题(2)

    我们继续讨论吃肉的问题(2/3)

    自由

    初期教会的一些信徒怀着一颗感恩的心吃肉,因为在他们看来偶像不算什么,“因为地和其中所充满的都属乎主。”(林前10:26)。另一些信徒却只吃素,原因是祭祀的食物食物让他们的良心感到不安(林前8:7)。因为他们假定任何和偶像有关的食物都是不洁净的。

    不论是吃肉还是不吃肉,二者都是神所接纳的(罗14:3)。

    对于这些充满争议的问题,保罗提供了一些指引——对于我们的选择,我们心里要意见坚定(罗14:5);我们不论做什么都要对神怀着一颗感恩的心,因为我们属于神并为他而活(罗14:7-8)并意识到我们个人要将自己的事在神面前说明(罗14:12)。当然,信徒的自由并不涉及是否我们要爱和赦免我们的邻舍,或是否可以犯诸如嫉妒,淫乱那样的罪。因为关于这些事神有非常明确的命令,甚至在罗马书之前的章节就做了说明(罗13:8-14)

    责任

    只要我们对神负责,我们就拥有自由。但是我们的自由应该在我们责任的指引下在爱中行出来(罗14:15,林前10:23-24)。这样就能促进合一并互相鼓励。吃肉的不要论断不吃肉的(罗14:3),也不要鼓励他们做违背自己良心的事(林前8:10-12),或者用任何方式叫他人跌倒(14:20-21)。比起吃不吃肉这些观点更重要的,是集中精力,在“公义,和平并圣灵中的喜乐”中(罗14:17)建立神的国。(I understand what the last sentence means but just feel hard to rewrite in Chinese. How will translate the last one?)

    所以,你们或吃或喝,无论做什么,都要为荣耀神而行。不拘是犹太人,是希腊人,都是神的教会,你们都不要使他跌倒;就好像我凡事都叫众人喜欢,不求自己的益处,只求众人的益处,叫他们得救。——林前10:31-33

    审判

    这些在争议性的话题上有不同意见的信徒,不应该为这些事争吵,论断或看低其他人(罗14:1-3)。不是说这些事不重要,而是这些事关乎我们和神之间的关系(罗14:22),并且神自己将会成为我们的审判者(罗14:4,10)。

    Reply

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