Is sin relative to the hearer, or is it unchangeable in the eyes of God? I know what most of you just thought, “Sin is sin, there’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it,” and you may be right. I do not write this letter to you to challenge your faith in the notion of sin, nor to spell it out, as it were, according to the Scriptures, I offer only the opportunity to contemplate. This one, I believe, only the Lord can answer.
“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.” (1 Cor. 8:4) And the other verse is, “To him it is sin.” (James 4:17) I suppose that sooner or later everyone that studies the Scriptures comes upon this, shall we say, conundrum, for there are no contradictions in the Word of God, and I believe that the Lord put many unanswered questions, so to speak, in His word for just these types of occasions, so that we will contemplate them, so we will search for Him with all of our being.
This clearly states two separate things here, both in context, one is that to some, an action that they might take would be sin to them, and two, that it is not really a sin. The question is, is it a sin in the eyes of God, or is it just a weaker brother who has not yet come to the realization that what he believes to be a sin is not really a sin at all. This leaves the door wide open, and greater minds than I could ever hope to attain to have tackled this issue, and I mean no offense to those who have come before me, but I do not believe anyone has ever come up with “The” answer.
The subject matter is meat offered to idols, and Paul makes it quite clear that it makes about as much sense as offering it to a rock in thanksgiving, which I am sure someone, somewhere has probably done at one time. The point is, it does not change the meat in any way, food is food, offering it to an idol does not mean that it is demon possessed or changed in any way, in other words, it’s a complete joke and it should not bother anyone. But, and this is a big one, that weaker brother does not know that, he still believes to eat that food after it has been offered to a thing of wood, stone, or whatever, is actually a sin against God, so there is the question, is it truly a sin in the eyes of God, for there, my friends, is where it matters.
I would ask that you give this some serious thought, and not so much about Paul’s answer, “Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.” (1 Cor. 8:13) But about the ‘sin in the eyes of God’ question, because if you think that it is, then we have just opened nearly every possible action that man has ever taken, in one form or another, to sin. Is it a sin for Roman Catholics to believe that their little cookie/cracker, after being “blessed” by the priest, turns into the actual body and embodiment, to a degree, of Christ? They do not think so, but we know different.
The offering to idol days are basically over in the terminology of the time that Paul wrote that letter, there’s not a lot of people out there worshipping intentionally Baal and Ashtaroth, but what about the music you listen to, the television or internet sites you frequent, if one of those whom we are calling weaker brothers think that the music you enjoy is a sin, and he listens or hears some of it, does he need to ask the Lord for forgiveness, or has he indeed sinned? There is only about seventy sheets of paper left in this notebook, and my lovely wife, who is gracious enough to type these letters up for me so that you can read them on this website probably does not want to stay up typing until four a.m., so, therein is the reason I asked you to contemplate these words.
Are you truly sinning each time that you believe you are sinning, do you believe that there are actions that you do not take in your life because you believe them to be sinful in the eyes of God, but which truly are not? Most definitely a subject worth studying and serious contemplation.