BUT -- Love Builds Up!

"But knowledge puffs up while love builds up" (1 Cor 8:1) In the Biblical context Paul is making this statement, he is referring to true knowledge of God and His will, particularly here talking about eating food sacrificed to idols, something those of us living in American today know little about, if anything.

Paul is saying we can hurt people who might be struggling with such situations, explaining if we fail to handle our knowledge correctly, we can harm them, even to the point of "caus[ing] my brother or sister to fall into sin" (vs 13). In vs-12, he says "When you sin against them in this way..." making it abundantly clear that it's NOT OK, and that out of love for them, we should not exercise our "rights" (vs-9) but should in fact, control ourselves for their benefit.

Today for us, it's not about eating food sacrificed in an idol's temple by people who know not God. Yet, there are issues in our modern day lives that come and go where we need to apply the principles Paul is illustrating here. We might be well aware that some act is not sinful, yet if a weaker brother or sister believes it to be, and they see us doing it, we harm not only them, but ourselves and the church. Perhaps the reverse is true, a new Christian fails to see something as sinful that knowledge of God's Word would otherwise confirm.

We sometimes see this when new converts have difficulty in separating the law of Christ from the commandments in the Old Testament. There are many modern day topics where this principle is true, and all such issues should be handled with love, not arrogance.

Let us build up each other as fellow Christians, increasing our knowledge of God collectively, and assisting each other in areas where we may be weaker. There is freedom in Christ that comes from knowledge, but we must not use our freedom to the detriment of those who may not yet understand it.

"But knowledge puffs up while love builds up"