One God

1Corinthians 8:4-7 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. 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. 

‘As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.’ Two schools, the Karaites and Traditionists, caused controversy amongst the early Christians. The Karaites held to the letter of the Jewish law, teaching that it was unlawful to receive any benefit from heathen worship or from anything that had been offered to an idol. It was unlawful to buy or sell an idol or meats offered to idols. The Traditionists maintained that they could use such meat provided that the sign of the idol was not stamped upon it. A sign could be placed upon the animal before it was sacrificed to the idol, such as gilded horns and hoofs, garlands, etc. When it was killed and sold in the shop such marks could not be seen so the Karaites had scrupled about all meat not knowing what had been sacrificed to idols or killed for common use. Those who had knowledge that idols and meats offered to them meant nothing had any scruple against buying and using such meat.

‘Whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many).’ Not only images, but the sun, moon, stars, oceans, rivers, trees and all other things in creation were used as gods by the heathen.

‘One God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.’ Here is another indisputable reference to the fact that God the Father is one person and Jesus Christ the Son of the Father is another person. This no more excludes Jesus from the Godhead than it excludes the Father from Lordship. Both are God and Lord (John 1:1; 1Jn. 5:7).

‘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.’ Some Jews held to certain rites of the law and some Gentiles held to certain heathen rites when they accepted Christianity. All these differences had to be dealt with and true knowledge gained before perfect harmony between converts could be maintained. Hence, the sound advice in 1Corinthians 8:1-13; 10:16-33; Colossians 2:14-17 and Romans 14:1-15:3. ‘Conscience’ [Greek: suneidesis] conviction or being conscious of a custom. Some had done this all their lives and still regarded sacrifices to idols as real acts of worship, not having true knowledge that idols were nothing. For such to take part in eating meat offered to an idol was to defile the conscience.

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