ISSL Reflections November 26 2023 1 Corinthians 10:23–11:1 Post 1

How free is the religious person?

Some folk think to be religious is to lose freedom. Others may think, to be religious is to find greater freedom.

This week let’s consider the perspective Paul brings to the discussion.

1 Corinthians 10:23-11:1 (NRSVue)

“All things are permitted,” but not all things are beneficial. “All things are permitted,” but not all things build up. Do not seek your own advantage but that of the other. Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience, for “the earth and its fullness are the Lord’s.” If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, out of consideration for the one who informed you and for the sake of conscience— I mean the other’s conscience, not your own. For why should my freedom be subject to the judgment of someone else’s conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why should I be denounced because of that for which I give thanks?

So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage but that of many, so that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

His opening phrase, “All things are permitted …” has to capture our attention. Right? Wait a moment. Then we hear, “… but not all …” Isn’t that so often the way things turn out. There is so often that “… but … “ which limits or even negates what we just found to our liking.

As you spend time with this passage, keep that tension of, “All … but …” in mind.

First, let’s notice what he identifies or implies is “permitted.” Look for parallels in your experiences of what he names for those first readers.

Let’s start our consideration of his words with getting a good handle on the freedoms that Paul considers available to us as disciples of Jesus.

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

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