1 Corinthians 8:4–6 4 Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.” 5 For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”— 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
Church members in Corinth had concerns about purchasing meat for food from the local market because some of the meat sold in the market had been previously offered as a sacrifice to an idol. It was impossible to distinguish between meat that was grilled at the market and meat previously offered at an idol’s temple and then sold at the market. Paul’s point is that meat can be purchased from the market and eaten because Christians are eating meat for food, not in the worship of an idol. Followers of Jesus know there is only one true God. It is God alone who is worshiped by believers, not the false gods and false lords. They should thank God for providing food and eat the meat to the glory of the one true God.
Paul also states in these instructions that “there are many ‘gods’ and many ‘lords’” worshiped by unbelievers. Idols do represent false gods and demonic lords. Going to where these idols are worshiped and eating meat in an idol’s temple is not permissible for Christians. Regarding offerings made in a temple of idols, Paul states in 1 Corinthians 10:19-20, “19 What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons.” Followers of Jesus serve the only true God, but literal demons empower false gods and false lords of false religions and associated idolatry.
Demonically inspired idolatry still exists today. Universities and corporations bow to the woke agenda. In the name of free sexual expression, we see abortion mills made available for murder, we see avenues for pornography open and well-traveled, and we see the LGBTQ+ agenda propagated in our schools, universities, businesses, and corporations. The need for personal responsibility is avoided by abuse of legal and illegal drugs and government-funded programs that destroy people’s work ethic. These, and many more, are the idolatrous temples of our day.
The gospel grace of our Lord delivered us from the enslaving power of the devil and idolatry. But we must not forget that the power of evil is real and holds many in bondage. As Jesus said in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” We need to walk in the abundant life graciously given to us in Christ, letting the people of the world know that the devil will steal, kill, and destroy. Idolatry is dangerous and demonic, but there is abundant life and freedom in Jesus!