Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? - All idolatry is represented as a sort of spiritual adultery; it is giving that heart to Satan that should be devoted to God; and he is represented as being jealous, because of the infidelity of those who have covenanted to give their hearts to him.
Are we stronger than he? - As he has threatened to punish such transgressors, and will infallibly do it, can we resist his omnipotence? A sinner should consider, while he is in rebellion against God, whether he be able to resist that power whereby God will inflict vengeance.
Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? - That is, shall we, by joining in the worship of idols, “provoke” or “irritate” God, or excite him to anger? This is evidently the meaning of the word παραζηλοῦμεν parazēloumenrendered “provoke to jealousy.” The word קנא qaana'usually rendered by this word by the Septuagint, has this sense in Deuteronomy 32:21; 1 Kings 14:22; Ezra 8:3; Psalm 78:58. There is a reference here, doubtless, to the truth recorded in Exodus 20:5. that God “is a jealous God,” and that he regards the worship of idols as a direct affront to himself. The sentiment of Paul is, that to join in the worship of idols, or in the observance of their feasts, would be to participate in that which had ever been regarded by God with special abhorrence, and which more than anything else tended to provoke his wrath. We may observe, that any course of life that tends to alienate the affections from God, and to fix them on other beings or objects, is a sin of the same kind as that referred to here. Any inordinate love of friends, of property, of honor, has substantially the same idolatrous nature, and will tend to provoke him to anger. And it may be asked of Christians now, whether they will by such inordinate attachments provoke the Lord to wrath? whether they will thus excite his displeasure, and expose themselves to his indignation? Very often Christians do thus provoke him. They become unduly attached to a friend, or to wealth, and God in anger takes away that friend by death, or that property by the flames, or they conform to the world, and mingle in its scenes of fashion and gaiety, and forget God; and in displeasure he visits them with judgments, humbles them, and recalls them to Himself. Are we stronger than he? - This is given as a reason why we should not provoke his displeasure. We cannot contend successfully with Him; and it is therefore madness and folly to contend with God, or to expose ourselves to the effects of His indignation.
Are we stronger than he? - This is given as a reason why we should not provoke his displeasure. We cannot contend successfully with Him; and it is therefore madness and folly to contend with God, or to expose ourselves to the effects of His indignation.
At Jerusalem the delegates from Antioch met the brethren of the various churches, who had gathered for a general meeting, and to them they related the success that had attended their ministry among the Gentiles. They then gave a clear outline of the confusion that had resulted because certain converted Pharisees had gone to Antioch declaring that, in order to be saved, the Gentile converts must be circumcised and keep the law of Moses. AA 191.1
This question was warmly discussed in the assembly. Intimately connected with the question of circumcision were several others demanding careful study. One was the problem as to what attitude should be taken toward the use of meats offered to idols. Many of the Gentile converts were living among ignorant and superstitious people who made frequent sacrifices and offerings to idols. The priests of this heathen worship carried on an extensive merchandise with the offerings brought to them, and the Jews feared that the Gentile converts would bring Christianity into disrepute by purchasing that which had been offered to idols, thereby sanctioning, in some measure, idolatrous customs. AA 191.2
Again, the Gentiles were accustomed to eat the flesh of animals that had been strangled, while the Jews had been divinely instructed that when beasts were killed for food, particular care was to be taken that the blood should flow from the body; otherwise the meat would not be regarded as wholesome. God had given these injunctions to the Jews for the purpose of preserving their health. The Jews regarded it as sinful to use blood as an article of diet. They held that the blood was the life, and that the shedding of blood was in consequence of sin. AA 191.3Read in context »