1 CORINTHIANS 10:31–11:1
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God
(1 Cor. 10:31).
Returning now to our study of 1 Corinthians, we find Paul’s summary statement of his teaching on eating food sacrificed to idols. His conclusion is that in all things, even in the eating of sacrificial foods, we should aim for the glory of God. We should be concerned primarily with what will bring honor to God. If this means that we give no offense by putting even the concerns of a weak conscience before our own liberties, then we are to do so.
“It is thus having the desire to promote the glory of God as the governing motive of our lives, that order and harmony are introduced into all our actions,” Hodge wrote. “The sun is the center of the system. Men of the world have themselves for the end of their actions. Philosophers tell us to make the good of others the end; and thus destroy the sentiment of religion, by merging it into philanthropy or benevolence. The Bible tells us to make the glory of God the end. This secures the other ends by making them subordinate, while at the same time it exalts the soul by placing before it an infinite personal object. There is all the difference between making the glory of God (the personal Jehovah) the end of our actions, and the good of the universe, or of being in general, than there is between the love of Christ and the love of an abstract idea. The one is religion, the other is morality.”
Paul exhorts us to live for God’s glory by putting others first so that no stumbling blocks would be put in the way of people’s salvation. Paul accommodated himself to the Jews and Gentiles in matters of indifference, but he did not engage in religious activity by eating at the temple feasts. He always gave up his own rights when the matter was not considered one of necessity. However, as in the case of circumcision with the Galatians, when it was demanded (not a matter of conscience, but law), he did not give in. The object of Paul’s actions was always to save men. He did not compromise the truth or sanction error, but he allowed himself to be all things to all men to win their souls. But, while we should follow the example of Paul, we should ultimately imitate Christ, who gave up His rights, His liberty, His glory, His life for the salvation of sinners.
How many times this week have you consciously thought about living for God’s glory? When you made decisions, spoke to others, whatever you did, did you ask yourself, what would bring honor to God in this situation? Over the weekend, consciously think about bringing glory to God in all you think, do, and say.
For further study: Ps. 22 • John 15:1–17 • Col. 3:12–17