The End of the Matter
I. Final Recap
I(A). The Excuses of the Wrong (v.23)
I(B). The Explanation of What is Right (v.24)
The basic meaning of edify (oikodomeō) is “to build a house,” and, by extension, the term refers to the literal or figurative building of anything. It is often used in the New Testament to describe the spiritual growth, or upbuilding, of believers. Whatever contributes to spiritual growth constitutes what is profitable, or beneficial, helpful, advantageous, or useful. Only things that are profitable are able to edify.
Even if something will build us up we should not do it if it is not also for the good of others. Our primary concern should be for the good of our neighbor, a principle contrary to basic human nature.
I(C). The Example of How to Live It (v.25-29a)
But our brother’s conscience’ sake is important, more important than the feelings of an unbelieving host. It is better to offend the host by not eating the idol meat than to offend a weaker believer by eating it. If we have to choose between offending a Christian and offending a non-Christian, we should offend the non-Christian. The profit and edification of our brother or sister in Christ is of greater importance. Not only that, but our testimony will be harmed more by arguing with and condemning fellow believers than by standing by them in love. Unbelievers will be inclined to respect us for showing loving concern for the convictions of a fellow Christian.
II. Final Command
II(A). The Mention of Complicated Questions
II(B). The Most Important Command
The word glory means “something that is worthy of praise or exaltation; brilliance; beauty; renown.” God’s glory has two aspects. First is His inherent, or intrinsic, glory. God is the only being in all of existence who can be said to possess inherent glory. No one can give it to Him; it already completely belongs to Him by virtue of who He is. If no one ever gave God praise, He would still be the glorious God that He is, because He was fully glorious before He created any other beings to worship Him.
The second aspect of God’s glory is ascribed glory. “Ascribe to the Lord, O sons of the mighty,” the psalmist says, “ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to His name; worship the Lord in holy array” (Ps. 29:1–2). Obviously, we cannot give God glory in the sense of adding to His glory, any more than we can add to His strength. The psalmist is simply urging us to recognize and acclaim the glory God already has.