1 Corinthians 10:14…
Now that Paul has firmly established the danger of placing the priority of Christian life on our new-found liberties and freedoms found in Christ, he moves on to provide an important example of how to deal with a temptation which is common to every man: Idolatry.
It is a reminder we are very prone to place created things before our relationship with God, and anything we place between ourselves and God is idolatry. (An idol is any object of our worship or desire which is not God, but instead is a part of His creation.)
Paul tells us to flee from it.
We are designed for close personal relationship with God. That is our ultimate purpose. Until we find relationship with God, and the fullness of it, we have an emptiness in our lives which drives us to seek fulfillment. There is NO fulfillment apart from a close personal relationship with God in Christ Jesus. So, we are all seekers until the moment we find what we are designed by God to find, which is Himself.
Once we have come into relationship with Jesus Christ, there is no point looking back. (This is what the Israelites became guilty of – looking back to Egypt and longing for the good old days of meat pots and garlic and leeks.)
We know once we are in relationship with Christ by being born again, we have entered into a spiritual communion with Him represented symbolically by the bread and the wine. Christ gave us these important symbols to remind us of the great cost He paid to redeem our souls. It is difficult to imagine disregarding that price once it has been spiritually examined for its meaning, but Paul reminds us by allowing any form of idolatry to creep back into our lives that is exactly what we do. Flee THAT. Period.
We also know an idol is nothing – but others who do not know Christ do not know what we know. And so, in our consideration of others before ourselves as Christ commands, we need to regard their idols for what they mean to them, rather than what they mean to us.
And so, if you drop by a friend’s house for a meal and discover they are having steak for dinner, and it means nothing to them, you are free to eat the meat even though you may know it is very likely the meat they serve you has been sacrificed to an idol. You are under no obligation to ask questions to seek the origin of the meat, because it means nothing to you, and you know it means nothing to them. Give thanks to God and eat up.
On the other hand, if your host announces, “this meat has been sacrificed to an idol,” you are to refuse to eat the meat because of your sensitivity to their conscience about whether you take your relationship with Christ seriously or not.
This is not hypocrisy, far from it. It is genuine concern for their salvation over your physical appetite.