In answer to the questions from the Corinthian church about eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols, Paul began with two foundational truths. First, there is only One True God, and all the pagan deities in question are not real gods at all. Secondly, although the believers know this to be true, this knowledge alone is not enough. It is love in action, not knowledge, that builds up the church of Christ.

Image may contain: sky, tree, plant, outdoor and natureWithin the church, however, there were some who still considered the idols as real foreign gods. They could not look at the meat involved in their sacrifice as simply meat; eating it, they believed, would constitute worship of an idol, and would violate their weak conscience. And while actually eating the meat or refusing to eat does not affect God’s approval of us, what does matter to Him is that we act in faith out of a clear conscience.

Thus, it falls to the brothers with the stronger conscience, particularly those who are recognized in the church as having greater spiritual knowledge, to be sensitive to the brothers with weaker consciences– to be mindful that, in exercising spiritual liberty and knowledge, we do not  by our example encourage others to violate their own conscience. Christ actually died for each and every one; surely, we can forego our own liberty so as not to cause a weaker brother to sin. This is the Love of God that builds up the church taking precedence over one’s own knowledge that makes him feel important.

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