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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS - Chapter 10 - Verse 31

Verse 31. Whether therefore ye eat, or drink. This direction should be strictly and properly applied to the case in hand; that is, to the question about eating and drinking the things that had been offered in sacrifice to idols. Still, however, it contains a general direction that is applicable to eating and drinking at all times; and the phrase, "whatsoever ye do," is evidently designed by the apostle to make the direction universal.

Or whatsoever ye do. In all the actions and plans of life; whatever be your schemes, your desires, your doings, let all be done to the glory of God.

Do all to the glory of God. The phrase, "the glory of God," is equivalent to the honour of God; and the direction is, that we should so act in all things as to honour him as our Lawgiver, our Creator, our Redeemer; and so as to lead others by our example to praise him and to embrace his gospel. A child acts so as to honour a father when he always cherishes reverential and proper thoughts of him; when he is thankful for his favours; when he keeps his laws; when he endeavours to advance his plans and his interests;; and when he so acts as to lead all around him to cherish elevated opinions of the character of a father. He dishonours him when he has no respect to his authority; when he breaks his laws; when he leads others to treat him with disrespect. In like manner, we live to the glory of God when we honour him in all the relations which he sustains to us; when we keep his laws; when we partake of his favours with thankfulness, and with a deep sense of our dependence; when we pray unto him; and when we so live as to lead those around us to cherish elevated conceptions of his goodness, and mercy, and holiness. Whatever plan or purpose will tend to advance his kingdom, and to make him better known and loved, will be to his glory. We may observe in regard to this,

(1.) that the rule is universal. It extends to everything. If in so small matters as eating and drinking we should seek to honour God, assuredly we should in all other things.

(2.) It is designed that this should be the constant rule of conduct, and that we should be often reminded of it. The acts of eating and drinking must be performed often; and the command is attached to that which must often occur, that we may be often reminded of it, and that we may be kept from forgetting it.

(3.) It is intended that we should honour God in our families and among our friends. We eat with them; we share together the bounties of Providence; and God designs that we should honour him when we partake of him mercies, and that thus our daily enjoyments should be sanctified by a constant effort to glorify him.

(4.) We should devote the strength which we derive from the bounties of his hand to his honour and in his service. He gives us food; he makes it nourishing; he invigorates our frame; and that strength should not be devoted to purposes of sin, and profligacy, and corruption. It is an act of high dishonour to God, when HE gives us strength, that we should at once devote that strength to pollution and to sin.

(5.) This rule is designed to be one of the chief directors of our lives. It is to guide all our conduct, and to constitute a test by which to try our actions. Whatever can be done to advance the honour of God is right; whatever cannot be done with that end is wrong. Whatever plan a man can form that will have this end is a good plan; whatever cannot be made to have this tendency, and that cannot be commenced, continued, and ended with a distinct and definite desire to promote his honour, is wrong, and should be forthwith abandoned.

(6.) What a change would it make in the world if this rule were everywhere followed! How differently would even professing Christians live! How many of their plans would they be constrained at once to abandon! And what a mighty revolution would it at once make on earth, should all the actions of men begin to be performed to promote the glory of God!

(7.) It may be added, that sentiments like that of the apostle were found among the Jews, and even among heathens. Thus Maimonides, as cited by Grotius, says, "Let everything be in the name of Heaven;" i.e., in the name of God. Capellus cites several of the rabbinical writers who say that all actions, even eating and drinking, should be done in the name of God. See the Critici Sacri. Even the heathen writers have something that resembles this. Thus Arrian (Eph 1:19) says, "Looking unto God in all things, small and great." Epictetus, too, on being asked how any one may eat so as to please God, answered, "By eating justly, temperately, and thankfully."

{b} "Whether" Col 3:17

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