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Leading The Way - Week of November 16

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Freedom and Conscience

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Read 1 Corinthians 8:1-8.

First Corinthians 8 is not about an issue plainly forbidden in Scripture. Rather, Paul dealt with an issue that was left up to individual believers to decide for themselves: meat sacrificed to idols.

You see, in first-century Corinth, much of the meat being sold or served had been previously offered to an idol. But it was just meat—good meat. The mature believers recognized this, and they ate the meat with a clean conscience. But the weaker Christians in the church would not even think of eating meat that had been placed before an idol. It was a reminder of their previous way of life, and their consciences would not permit it. One group operated under the freedom we have in Christ; the other was not ready to exercise such freedom. Neither group was sinning in their response to the issue.

In our culture, the issues are different, but the same principle should apply. Gray areas of the Christian life should not divide us. When God takes hold of our lives, we will live to serve and humble ourselves rather than sow strife among God’s people. Therefore those who exercise their freedom in Christ (not to sin, but to live unbound by man-made rules) should not flaunt their freedom before fellow believers. At the same time, weaker Christians must never imagine these secondary issues are matters of salvation. No one’s spiritual temperature should be measured by their ability to keep man-made rules. God has given us a Spirit-filled life, not a rule-bound life.

Prayer: Lord, help me to live humbly before others. I rejoice in the freedom I have in You and give thanks for Your grace and mercy. Help me pursue righteousness toward my brothers and sisters in Christ through humility and love. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know” (1 Corinthians 8:2).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon Healthy Living in a Sick World, Part 11: LISTEN NOW

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