The Knowledge You’re Working With
We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world.” 1 Corinthians 8:4 NIV
Remember, conscience functions according to knowledge, so what we know is important: “We know that ‘An idol is nothing at all… There is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live” (8:4,6).
John goes to church in Corinth. He’s a Christian and he knows that an idol is nothing more than a creation and projection of man’s vain imagination; so he goes to the butcher, buys his meat, and eats it with a clear conscience. “We know that an idol is nothing at all… but not everyone knows this.” (1 Cor.8:7).
Conscience is the ability to act with knowledge. That means the way your conscience functions will depend on the knowledge it is working with. Some Christians are still so accustomed to idols that their conscience tells them it’s wrong to eat this meat.
Mary was brought up in a world of idols. She has horrible memories of idolatrous festivals and the things that happened there. Now she has become a Christian, she feels that it would be wrong for her to eat meat that was slaughtered after one of these idolatrous festivals. And so just to be sure, she has decided that she won’t eat any meat at all.
One evening Mary meets John and they go out to a restaurant. John orders a T-bone steak and Mary orders a salad. John says to Mary, “Why are you ordering a salad? I’m buying. Have a steak!” Mary says, “I don’t feel right about that.”
How do you think Mary and John ought to resolve this?
[Based on the sermon series "Regeneration: How Christ Changes Your Soul"]
For more resources by Colin Smith visit Unlocking the Bible, where you can request a free sample of LifeKEYS Daily devotional, listen to the radio program, or browse other gospel-centered, Christ-exalting resources. You can also follow Colin on Twitter.