1 Corinthians 8.1,7,10-11 – The unconditional guilt attaching to sin.
Posted: 22 August 2013 in 1 Corinthians

Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth….. 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….. For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?

From a human perspective, and given the above circumstances, we might imagine that somebody could stand before God at the last judgment, and say, “I am sorry for my sin, but I was misled by people who ate meat which had been offered to idols, and I thought it would be permissible for me to take part in idolatrous worship.” He might have some expectation that God would then say, “Well, given those extenuating circumstances, I can see that it wasn’t altogether your fault, and I will pardon you.”

That seems reasonable from a human point of view, but that is not what the above passage says. It says that the individual concerned will perish – at least if the idolatrous worship becomes habitual. The implication is that all sin against the holy God will be punished without reference to the circumstances. Passages with a similar import can be found scattered throughout the Bible. In Ezekiel, for example, it is said that the people of Judah would perish for their sin, even if the prophet failed to fulfill his commission, and warn them. Admittedly it is also said that Ezekiel would suffer the consequences as well, but that is by the way. The Bible never contradicts itself.

God cannot, and will not, allow his holiness to be besmirched when men do not pay him the fear and reverence which is his to receive, and their duty to give in obedience to him.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3.23)

Consequently salvation is impossible without the sacrifice of Christ, and even then only for those to whom the Lord graciously imputes the righteousness which is Christ’s alone. That one can could atone for the sins of billions of individuals, throughout the centuries, may seem strange, until it is remembered who it was that hung upon the cross. None other than the Second Person of the Trinity.

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