25 “Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience’ sake; 26for ‘the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.’”
Paul qualifies the idea that the well-being of others should be our priority. In putting others first, we do not need to go the extreme of legalism by putting ourselves in a religious straightjacket.
Eat whatever is sold in the meat market,
Meat that pagans offered sacrificially to an idol was not intrinsically evil.
asking no questions for conscience’ sake;
The Christian did not need to ask questions about the background of the food he ate as to whether it was offered to idols. This is an overly scrupulous approach to life.
for “the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.”
This phrase is a quote of Psalm 24:1 making the point that over-scrupulousness is not biblical. Food is part of God’s creation and so it is inherently good (1 Ti 4:4-5). The word “for” confirms the point made in the previous verse about not being overly scrupulous or legalistic about foods.
There is no kosher food in Christianity. No food commends us to God or finds God’s disapproval. All food is a gift from God and has intrinsic value. It is possible to be overly scrupulous and damage our testimony within the religious pluralism of our culture. Paul told believers they should accept an invitation to dinner even if the food was offered to an idol.
Liberty always triumphs over legalism.
The Christian who lives wisely in a world of pluralism does not become legalistic and overly scrupulous. Some Christians make a federal case about everything. By making mountains out of molehills, they distort their representation of the gospel. By straining at a gnat, they swallow a camel. This is a head-in-the-sand approach to life. God does not expect us to become “creeps” after salvation! We should live normal lives enjoying normal things around us.
Demonstration of Christian liberty is a testimony to a pluralistic society. The more scrupulous we are, the less likely pluralists will be attracted to the gospel.