10:18 Observe Israel after the flesh: Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? 19 What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? 20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons. 22 Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?
Paul has come full circle. One of the points of contention that was dividing the church in Corinth was eating or not eating food that had been sacrificed to idols. You will remember that his original argument was that even if you know an idol is nothing and therefore the food untainted don't do it for the sake of others who don't get it. Now he takes a step further and deeper. He began by describing why we drink the Lord's cup and share the bread. We read that yesterday. We are symbolically participating in what He did for us. Now if that is the symbolism of the cup and the bread, His blood and body given for us, what is the symbolism they were participating in by eating food offered to idols?
Paul goes right last the specifics of each idol and the religions attached to them and goes right to the source. All false religion is a brain child of Satan and to take part is to entertain the strategies of demons.
For us there is a larger consideration. Chances are the food you buy at the grocery store was not offered on an altar to an idol before you bought it. What then is the principle? What can we learn from Paul's counsel here?
There are good things that come from God. He designed them for our use and benefit and blessing. Healthy food, wholesome sexuality, friendships, recreation, books, music etc... All of these can be wonderful and enriching and add to our lives and build us up. However just as Satan studied those first animal sacrifices and what they represented and then strategized how to twist the practice and therefore the meaning he is still twisting. He studies all the good things God gives and looks for ways to repackage or alter the contents and destroy us through them.
So how do we apply Paul's counsel to Corinth regarding food offered to idols? Simple. Every choice we make needs to be considered in the light of "who is behind this product?" Is this from God for my benefit or was it hatched in the laboratories of demons?
Tomorrow we'll continue and go deeper.