Knowledge Needs Love

What I know apart from Who I know won’t get me very far in the kingdom. That’s what I’m picking up from what Paul’s laying down this morning. Knowledge needs love.

Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.

(1Corinthians 8:1-3 ESV)

To eat, or not to eat? That was the question. For those who knew that “an idol has no real existence”, and understood that while we might use the term “gods” there really is only one God, it was no big deal to chow down on meat that had likely been butchered as an offering to some non-existent, inanimate, deity of man’s own making. “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving” (1Tim. 4:4).

However, Paul goes on to say, “not all possess this knowledge” (1Cor. 8:7). There were brothers and sisters who, though now saved, once were in bondage to idol worship. For them, the meat thing was a real thing. Sacrificing animals to false gods and then eating the meat was what they were saved out of, it was the Egyptian bondage they had been released from. How could they go back to Egypt and eat such meat again?

So, whaddya do when everyone’s not working off the same page? In that case, simply having knowledge, knowing “the truth” about something, isn’t enough. In fact, on it’s own, it’s kind of dangerous.

This “knowledge” puffs up . . .

Such “redeemed” understanding, on it’s own, can actually manifest itself in very “non-redeemed” types of behavior. It can swell the head. Make boastful the heart. Having been enlightened to see that eating meat is not sin, without something else in the mix, can source other sin like pride.

What I know is not enough if I want to be who I should be. Knowledge on it’s own is dangerous. But knowledge with love is advantageous. The knowledge of God, when mixed with the love of God, produces the fruit of God.

This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up.

Our knowledge has been tested over this past year in ways we couldn’t have imagined a year ago. For example, some know that we are to love one another, outdo one another in showing honor, live in harmony with one another, and not pass judgment on one another (Rom. 12:10, 12:16, 14:13). That we are to serve one another (Gal. 5:13), bear one another’s burdens (Gal 6:2), and submit to one another (Eph. 5:21). So, no brainer — wear a mask and keep your distance.

Others know that our lives are in God’s hands (Job 12:10), that our days have been ordained by Him (Ps. 139:16), and that no one’s gonna die before their time. We also know that we should be anxious for nothing (Php 4:6), that we “did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear” (Rom. 8:15), and, in fact, we have been delivered from the fear of death (Heb. 2:15). So, forget the masks and let’s give another a big hug!

Both have knowledge. Both walk in truth. But, without something else in the mix, such knowledge can lead to inflated egos, infuriated talk, and inevitable division.

If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know.

We’ll only know as we ought to know when we love as we ought to love.

But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.

Only when our knowledge of God is combined with the love of God will we walk in the way known, or approved, by God. His children reflecting His character. His people modeling His patience. His kindred displaying His kindness. His body exuding His beauty.

Knowledge is good. But knowledge needs love.

By His grace. For His glory.

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