Relations with Our Brethren

1 Cor. 8:9-12

In this passage we see Paul speaking to
some in the Corinthian church who have “knowledge.” He was probably indicating
by this word that their apprehension of the things of God and of the new liberty
that has become theirs through Christ is greater than that of others with the
same church, who possibly have not been saved so long, and are not so advanced
spiritually as the others. They had all been brought up amidst idolatry, and
knew that most of the meat sold in the marketplace had previously been offered
to idols, and the recently saved were not sure what their attitude should be in
relation to eating this meat as food. They still felt that in some way the meat
was affected by its previous offering to idols, and their conscience was not
clear about eating it. The better taught Christian had learned that the meat in
the market place was simply meat and he could with a good conscience eat it.
Now, says Paul to the ones with “knowledge,” be careful how you act in this
matter—your weaker brother is watching you, and if he sees you eating that about
which he is uncertain, he may be inclined to do the same, although his
conscience is telling him that he ought not to do so. He is thereby stumbled.

Paul asks a very important question in verse 11,
“through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?”
Surely he is saying, “be very careful how you act in relation to weaker
believers—they are precious to Christ—how the Lord loved them!” He stresses the
same point in Romans 14:15 and reiterates, “Destroy not him with thy meat for
whom Christ died.” In the background the apostle sees the cross and see the
preciousness of all those who have been redeemed by blood. Surely, if I love the
Lord, I shall not want to hurt others who also love Him. If I sin against them
by my example, I am sinning against Christ. It may not be eating meat offered to
idols; my example may be in relation to smoking, drinking, cinemas, gambling,
etc.—how tragic if my example in relation to these things, or other doubtful
things, led  a younger believer to follow me and his spiritual life become a
disaster. How can I look at Calvary and see the love of my Lord for my
fellow-believer and then do that which will harm him? “Let this mind be in