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sacrificial-meat

May a Christian eat meat used for a sacrifice in another religion?

There are many difficult decisions for Christians when they have friends or family who are not Christians. The Bible says that Christians must worship God alone and must not worship idols of any kind: “And God spoke all these words, saying, I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love Me and keep My commandments” (Exodus 20:1-6).

Does eating sacrificial meat honor God?

Therefore, everything the Christian does must give honor to God, and not honor to idols or to the gods of other religions. Anything that is in agreement with the Bible, the Christian may do. The Christian can celebrate the birth of Jesus, and the Christian can celebrate the obedience of Abraham to God to sacrifice his firstborn son. Therefore, what should a Christian do when meat or other food used in non-Christian religious rituals is given to him for a meal? Should he eat or not eat?

All things are lawfull for me

In the New Testament, Jesus declared all foods clean (Mark 7:19) and the Apostle Paul said that Christians could eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols because meat is something that God had made, just like other food. Eating does not give you merit or make you more blessed. But eating is not sin, and does not bring a curse either.

Eat whatever is set before you

Regardless of what the meat had been used for by somebody else, it is still something that God made and can be eaten: “Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience. For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof. If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience” (1 Corinthians 10:25-27).

Put the other higher than yourself

Therefore, Christians are free to eat all foods. With that said, some Christians get confused about this point and think that eating meat that was sacrificed to other gods is sin. This is not true. However, some Christians can get confused about this because they are weak in their faith. When that is the case, the mature Christian should not do anything that might cause the weaker Christian to do what he thinks is sin:

But if someone says to you, This has been offered in sacrifice, then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience – I do not mean your conscience, but his. For why should my liberty be determined by someone else’s conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks? So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved” (1Corinthians 10:28-33).

Love is more important than sacrificial meat

Although Christians are free to eat all foods, they should not eat or do anything that would confuse a weaker Christian. It would never be worth it if they might fall into sin because of the more mature Christian’s actions. We always need to let the love of Christ determine our deeds.

How does this Bible teaching speak to you? Please share your thoughts below!

Read more Are there gods besides God?

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Biblword is a ministry of GlobalRize. Marten Visser is the founding director of GlobalRize. Marten is a pastor from The Netherlands with long years of experience as a missionary in Thailand. We now have around 200 people from all over the world involved in GlobalRize’s ministry. Besides the English page, Biblword also exists in 13 other languages on Facebook.

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May a Christian eat meat used for a sacrifice in another religion?