Many Christians wrestle constantly with the question of what they can or cannot do in the Christian life. Their understanding of “the world” is fuzzy and they struggle to know the difference between dedicated Christian living and compromise with sin. Often it appears they have drawn an imaginary line as close to danger as possible and are crowding it continually, yet giving the impression they want to do it right. They run from one counselor to another seeking guidance, sometimes with the purpose of finding a Christian leader who will soothe their consciences by lowering the standard just a bit. They appear to want to get away with as much as they can and still make it to heaven.
There is another group of saints who are sincere and dedicated but confused. They honestly want to live for Christ and honor Him in their words and actions, but they have trouble knowing what to do in a number of situations. The clear-cut issues are no problem to them, but the “gray” areas keep them off balance. In the text above, Paul dealt with just such an issue. Christians were troubled about whether or not to eat meat that had been offered to idols. There was nothing wrong with the meat because the idols were but images made with hands. Still, there was an area of doubt.
Paul settled the “what to do” issue by appealing to their love for the Lord. Liberty would have allowed them to eat the meat. But how would this have affected those who didn’t really understand Christian liberty? Therefore liberty had to be tempered with love.
Let love temper Christian liberty and the “gray” will go away.