1 Corinthians 10: To God Be The Glory

There was a real question in Paul’s mind about the degree to which a Christian could follow the cultural norm.  That by itself is a point some Christians in this world need to bear in mind.  If we think we can be an everyday Christian and an everyday American or Canadian or Filipino or Saudi Arabian, we are kidding ourselves.  Nonetheless, there were still many details to work out about this point, and the Corinthians were slowly sorting through the details with Paul’s help.

Paul gives a foundational principle for ethics in this chapter, though:

So, then, whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, do everything to God’s glory. (10:31)

As a Christian sorts out how to live everyday life, there is a guiding principle that is more important that was is lawful (c.f., 10:23), more important that what is right or wrong, more important that what one has the right to do, more important that even our own preferences and desires.  Before asking what we want to do, we need to ask whether something brings glory to God.  Does this make God look good?  Does this draw people closer to God or further away?

The Corinthians needed to bear that in mind as they determined what kinds of food to eat, and when and where to eat it.  They need to remember this when they lived in community with each other and influenced the behavior of their brothers and sisters.  They needed to remember this as they decided how to interact socially in church and how to view the worth and acceptance of others.  Does this bring glory to God?

What would be different if we today used this same guiding principle?  

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3 thoughts on “1 Corinthians 10: To God Be The Glory

  1. Melanie

    In the movie “My Week With Marilyn,” Marilyn Monroe is in England to make a movie with Sir Lawrence Olivier. Things are not going well, and Olivier is pressing her to get her lines right, show up on time, etc.. He is clearly getting diminishing returns. Dame Sybil, another actress in the film, intervenes, chiding Olivier, saying “She is in a strange land with strange people. Are you helping her, or are you making it harder for her?”

    I would do well to ask myself often, “Am I helping or hurting God’s cause?”

  2. At the beginning of this chapter Paul talks about the gravest of sins. Teenagers have drilled into their heads that dress, alcohol, and sex are the big sins, and these sure aren’t things to mess around with. But a deeper, darker sin than any of those is this: “We must be on guard so that we never get caught up in wanting our own way as they did.” Later in the chapter Paul says this: “When you see people reducing God to something they can use or control, get out of their company as fast as you can.” The exaltation of self to god-like status and its accompanying reduction of God to servant status – alive and well in western society and the worst of all sins. All other sins stem from this.

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