Do all to the glory of God
1 Corinthians 10:31 Condensing three chapters of an epistle down to one powerful verse
”Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.“
1 Corinthians 10:31 NASB1995
My first thought when God picked today’s Bible verse for me was that He was making a comment on how much people eat during the holidays. Barb and I have been enjoying sugary treats that we usually avoid; dinner last night was a massive lasagna that we’ll enjoy a second time tonight, followed by some festive gelato (egg nog and chocolate). We like to thank God for His provision before a meal; usually with silent thanks but sometimes with a spoken prayer. So we do our eating and drinking to the glory of God… but that’s not the point of this verse.
While writing his first epistle to the Corinthians, Paul was trying to get more across with this verse than “saying grace before supper”. In fact, much of 1 Corinthians chapters 8 through 10 deals with a much more serious question that was confusing the early Christians — whether or not they could eat meat that was sacrificed to an idol. Paul tells them in chapter 8 that it’s alright to do so, but that if it causes a brother to stumble, don’t do it. Chapter 9 has a focus on how Christians must sometimes give up their rights (like eating the aforementioned meat sacrificed to an idol) in order to keep themselves and others from stumbling.
At the end of Chapter 9 Paul says that Christians must be able to give up even “good” things for the sake of winning the race God has set before us, and how difficult it is to give up those things.
In Chapter 10, Paul goes even further on the topic of eating meat sacrificed to idols, getting into examples of eating that meat at a meal offered in a pagan temple (don’t do it, because what happens at a pagan temple usually isn’t as innocent as may see) or at some other location. The bottom line in this part of Paul’s epistle is that Christians should follow the principle of not just avoiding what is harmful, but pursuing what is good at the same time.
Three chapters devoted to whether or not it was permissible to eat meat that had been sacrificed to an idol? It sounds as if Paul, who normally preached against legalism, is getting legalistic in his own way. All of this comes to a conclusion in today’s verse, where Paul says “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God”.
Paul is pointing out that the purpose of the Christian’s life is to glorify God. If the Corinthian church had been mindful of this principle, most of the lecturing about the sacrificial meat could have been avoided. Likewise, we’re reminded after this verse to not behave in such a way that our behavior encourages others to sin.
Paul’s lengthy explanation isn’t legalism, but more an expression of his sincere desire that all mankind be saved. By engaging in questionable behavior, whether it is permissible or not, we do not set a positive example to those who are lost. Paul wants us to all act in a manner that leads to enticing more people to salvation.
Do you do everything to the glory of God? Being sinners, we usually fail at the task He has laid out before us. Perhaps keeping just the last part of this verse in mind at all times — “whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” — we can live our lives as more of an example to those who need salvation.
Heaven On Wheels Daily Prayer:
God in Heaven, I pray that I can be a living testimony to Your goodness and grace, and that I focus on living my life to glorify You. May Your will be done in all that I say and do each day, and may I become an inspiration to the lost so that they may be saved from sin through Jesus, AMEN.