But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled.
Thoughts for Today:We know that God looks at our hearts. For example, the Lord said to the prophet Samuel when He passed on Eliab (one of David's older brothers) as one of the candidates to replace Saul as king (1 Samuel 16:7): "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
From the Lord's perspective, our conscience is more important than our actions. It's the reason God forgives terrible acts (such as Paul's persecution of Christians) -- they were done in ignorance and unbelief -- but with a clear conscience. (1 Timothy 1:13: "Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.") Yet others, such as Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-10), were dealt with harshly. What's the difference?
The acts of Ananias and Sapphira were intentional in both the planning and execution of what they did. They had rejected the conviction of their conscience. It's a good reminder for all of us to always keep our hearts sensitive to the Lord.
Paul tells us in our passage today, if you think it's wrong, then it's probably wrong for you, but not necessarily wrong for everyone. He uses the example of meat to make his point. If one person doesn't eat because they think, "This meat is defiled -- it was on the altar of an unholy idol!" While another looks at the meat and says, "It's just meat!" Who is right? Paul says both are because conscience dictates right and wrong on subjects not specifically prohibited.
Questions to Ponder:Are you confused about what liberty you have in Christ and what is restricted? What does the Bible say? Absent a Scriptural prohibition, what does your conscience tell you? Which way is the Lord urging? His leadership will never be toward anyone or anything that will bring harm.