The Apostle Paul spent a lot of time teaching the Corinthian church that to eat meat that had been offered to idols was not something to be concerned about.  Evidently after being offered to the idols, the meat was sold for a cheaper price.  The entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 8 deals with this subject.  The Lord’s truth as given to us by Paul is found in 1 Corinthians 8:8, “But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.”  If a person decided not to eat this type of meat…that was fine.  If a person felt comfortable eating meat that had been offered to an idol…that was also fine.

The Lord’s desire was that each one would be tolerant of the conscience and convictions of others on this matter, even if it differed from their own thoughts.  He pointed out how that the weaker, or less developed brother, might be offended by seeing others eat this meat.  We read in verse 7, “Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.”  The Lord instructs those who are stronger and more mature in their spiritual life to be sensitive to the weak conscience of the weaker brother.  To eat this meat in front of this weaker brother could offend his conscience and possibly cause him to fall into sin.  We read in verse 12, “But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.”  Paul goes on to say in verse 13, “Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.”  Rather than offend the weaker brother, Paul states that he would simply not eat the meat offered to idols.

In Romans 14, the Apostle takes up this subject with the Roman believers.  This chapter deals with two types of believers; those that are weak, and those that are strong, just as in 1 Corinthians 8.  To the strong, the Lord says in Romans 14:1, “Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.” (NASB)  To the weak, the Lord says in verse 3, “…let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth.” (NASB)  Again here, the Lord desires that each one would be tolerant of the conscience and convictions of others.

In verse 5, the theme is expanded to include the observance of different days.  That says, “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.”  Those who would esteem one day above another would be the JEWS who regarded the days of their festivals, and fasts, and Sabbaths as peculiarly sacred.  Those who did not esteem one day above the other would be the GENTILES who were never under the law and, therefore, had never observed the Jewish custom of honoring particular days.  Paul concludes in verse 6, “He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.”

Now let’s read Romans 14:14-17, “I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.  For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (NASB)  Tolerance is the key here.  Of course, tolerance of sin is not even mentioned in this chapter.  It is speaking of tolerance of those who were at different levels of spiritual maturity.  Is this not a lesson for each one of us?  My dear fellow believer, may we understand the valuable truth here.  May we walk in love and be patient and understanding with one another and allow each to one stand individually accountable to the Lord.  (186.9)