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1Corinthians  ◦   Chapter 10

1I want you to understand clearly that all humanity suffers from the same sin sickness and is in need of the exact same Remedy. In fact, when our forefathers were protected by the cloud of God's presence and passed through the sea,2their journey through the sea was a symbolic immersion in water by Moses — like our symbolic water immersion called baptism — which symbolizes leaving the life of sin and death behind for the new life in Christ.3They all partook of the same spiritual food4and drank the same spiritual drink as you and I do — the truth about God as revealed by Christ; for they received the spiritual truth (the Water of Life) from the Rock who went with them, and that Rock was Jesus Christ.5But God was disappointed with most of them because even though Christ provided all that was necessary to save them, they rejected what he offered, and died, scattered throughout the desert.

6All of this history is a lesson for us, teaching us not to act as they did, and not to reject God's Remedy to sin in exchange for the counterfeits the world offers.7Do not worship false gods or believe lies about God — as some of them did. The Old Testament Scripture tells us: "They ate and drank, and gave thanks to idols, indulging in lewd behavior."8We must not engage in sexual immorality, as some of them did–and in one day, twenty-three thousand died.9We should not test whether the Lord will leave us free to reap the consequences of our own choices if we persist in rebellion. This is what many of them did, and when — at their insistence — God stepped back, poisonous snakes came into the camp, and many of the people died.10And do not harden your hearts against God and his methods of love by grumbling and complaining as some of them did, for such a course results in death.

11Since we suffer with the same sickness of heart and mind as they did, all of this history is recorded for our benefit–to warn and protect us–so we won't refuse the Remedy as they did, but will fulfill God's purpose of victorious living at this present time.12So, if you are in God's treatment program and believe you are doing well, be careful that you don't fall behind in your appointments with God, or in the partaking of his Remedy.13For there is no temptation to discontinue God's treatment that has come upon you except for the fear and selfishness that infects all mankind. God is reliable and trustworthy; he will not allow temptation beyond your ability to resist, but when you are tempted, he will always provide resources, options, opportunities, supports, and alternate ways out so that you can stand your ground and overcome the temptation, thereby growing stronger with each victory.

14Therefore, my cherished friends, flee from false gods and all false God-concepts.15You can think for yourselves, so examine the evidence and draw your own conclusion regarding the value and reasonableness of what I am saying.16Isn't the communion cup, of which we thankfully partake, a symbolic ingestion of the life of Christ? And is not the communion bread a symbolic internalization of the character, methods and principles of Christ?17Even though we are many individuals, when we partake of Christ, we partake of the only genuine Bread that gives life, and therefore become united into one body, for we all assimilate the same character of love.

18Consider the theatrical lesson Israel enacted for us: Didn't those who ingested the sacrificial meat also faithfully fulfill their duties at the altar? When we ingest Christ, we become like him and faithfully live out his principles in fulfilling all our duties.19But don't get confused about sacrifices to idols: The sacrifice is nothing, and the idol is nothing, for neither have any power;20but the sacrifices of pagans are done with hearts in harmony with demons — not in harmony with God — and I do not want you to align yourselves with demons.21You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and partake of the life of Christ, and also drink the cup of demons and partake of Satan's principles; you cannot internalize both the character of Christ and the character of demons.22Besides, the Lord won't allow partial healing; he wants complete eradication of selfishness from the heart! Do you think that you can heal yourselves — that you have a more powerful remedy than his?

23In God's universe, we have the freedom to do anything we want, but not everything is healthy or in harmony with God's design.24So live in harmony with God's design and do not seek to promote self, but promote the eternal good of others.

25You are free to eat anything sold in the market without being concerned about spiritual contamination from the food being offered to an idol,26because the entire earth was created by God, and physical matter cannot soil the conscience.

27If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is served — without worrying about whether it was offered to an idol, or whether you are sinning by eating it — for food is food, and the only thing that matters is its nutritional value.28But if the unbeliever makes it a point to tell you that it was offered in sacrifice to their idol, then don’t eat it — not because there is actually anything wrong with the food, but to avoid confusion:29not confusion to you, but to the other person, who believes their idol actually has some power, and you don’t want them to think you believe in their god.30In general, I eat my meals with thankfulness to God and will not be held hostage by the opinions of others; and I let others think what they want.

31So, whether you are eating or drinking, or whatever you are doing–do it to reveal the truth about God's character of selfless love.32Do not knowingly act in ways that confuse others about God, or lead them astray–whether believers or unbelievers.33Remember to be winsome in dealing with others, just as I strive to do, for I am not promoting my own agenda, but spreading the Remedy of Jesus Christ so that many may be eternally healed.