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True Knowledge

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“If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know.” 1 Corinthians 8:2.  Read that one through a few times and ponder it.  Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up (1 Cor 8:1).  Paul is reminding us that being ‘right’ is not the end all and be all.  Sometimes we yield our right to be right in order to serve or protect or build up our neighbor.  The specifics of the controversy then was food sacrificed to idols.  Should Christians eat of it or not?  Some Christians said, they are free to do so, they have knowledge that the idols are worthless and fake gods.  So why not eat meat which was offered to these dumb statues?  But other Christians thought it was sinful to join in a pagan ceremony. 

Paul takes the argument to a higher level.  You may be free to do it, but you should not if it may harm your brother or sister in Christ.  The applications for today are endless.  Christians are free to drink alcohol.  But would I exercise this right in front of a brother or sister who struggles with alcohol addiction?  Of course not.  Would I argue about my rights and my freedom as a Christian?  No, I would not.  Love trumps knowledge.  I love my brother or sister who has an unhealthy relationship with alcohol and will do everything in my power to help them.  I will not lecture them about Jesus turning water to wine, or whatever knowledge I think I have. 

Really the point is one of attitude.  If you are walking around self-confident that you have all your Christianity figured out and you are doing everything right, you do not yet know as you ought to know.  True wisdom exhibits true humility.  True love yields its rights.  I will abstain in order to build others up.  I will exercise my freedom when appropriate.  All things to the glory of God.

 

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