Warnings from Israel’s Past
1Brothers and sisters, I want you to know what happened to our ancestors who followed Moses. They were all under the cloud and all went through the sea. 2They were all baptized as followers of Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3They all ate the same spiritual food, 4and all drank the same spiritual drink. They drank from that spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ. 5But God was not pleased with most of them, so they died in the desert.
6And these things happened as examples for us, to stop us from wanting evil things as those people did. 7Do not worship idols, as some of them did. Just as it is written in the Scriptures: “They sat down to eat and drink, and then they got up and sinned sexually.” 8We must not take part in sexual sins, as some of them did. In one day twenty-three thousand of them died because of their sins. 9We must not test Christ as some of them did; they were killed by snakes. 10Do not complain as some of them did; they were killed by the angel that destroys.
11The things that happened to those people are examples. They were written down to teach us, because we live in a time when all these things of the past have reached their goal. 12If you think you are strong, you should be careful not to fall. 13The only temptation that has come to you is that which everyone has. But you can trust God, who will not permit you to be tempted more than you can stand. But when you are tempted, he will also give you a way to escape so that you will be able to stand it.
14So, my dear friends, run away from the worship of idols. 15I am speaking to you as to reasonable people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16We give thanks for the cup of blessing, which is a sharing in the blood of Christ. And the bread that we break is a sharing in the body of Christ. 17Because there is one loaf of bread, we who are many are one body, because we all share that one loaf.
18Think about the Israelites: Do not those who eat the sacrifices share in the altar? 19I do not mean that the food sacrificed to an idol is important. I do not mean that an idol is anything at all. 20But I say that what is sacrificed to idols is offered to demons, not to God. And I do not want you to share anything with demons. 21You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons also. You cannot share in the Lord’s table and the table of demons. 22Are we trying to make the Lord jealous? We are not stronger than he is, are we?
How to Use Christian Freedom
23“We are allowed to do all things,” but not all things are good for us to do. “We are allowed to do all things,” but not all things help others grow stronger. 24Do not look out only for yourselves. Look out for the good of others also.
25Eat any meat that is sold in the meat market. Do not ask questions about it. 26You may eat it, “because the earth belongs to the Lord, and everything in it.”
27Those who are not believers may invite you to eat with them. If you want to go, eat anything that is put before you. Do not ask questions about it. 28But if anyone says to you, “That food was offered to idols,” do not eat it. Do not eat it because of that person who told you and because eating it might be thought to be wrong. 29I don’t mean you think it is wrong, but the other person might. But why, you ask, should my freedom be judged by someone else’s conscience? 30If I eat the meal with thankfulness, why am I criticized because of something for which I thank God?
31The answer is, if you eat or drink, or if you do anything, do it all for the glory of God. 32Never do anything that might hurt others—Jews, Greeks, or God’s church— 33just as I, also, try to please everybody in every way. I am not trying to do what is good for me but what is good for most people so they can be saved.