8 But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse.
9 But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.
10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols?
11 And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?
12 But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.
13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.
commend us to God (v.8) — What we eat has no bearing on God’s opinion of us.
liberty (v.9) = power, right
stumbling block (v.9) = an obstacle against which one may stub his foot — Romans 14:13
you who have knowledge (v.10) — the stronger brother who understands that food is not wrong in itself
emboldened (v.10) = to build up — to follow another’s example and so eat in opposition to his own conscience
Acts 15:28-29 shows that the eating of meat offered to idols was prevalent among believing Gentiles in Antioch and elsewhere as well (probably simply because it was the best meat), for in view of the decision at the Jerusalem Council they were requested to refrain from this in deference to Jewish believers who might be offended by it.
Acts 15:28-29, when coupled with verses 19-21, further indicates that Jews, more than Gentiles, would be thus offended. They might be less apt to really take in the fact that “an idol is nothing,” and to regard the offering of meat in idolatrous sacrifices only as an offense to the one true and living God. — Stam, page 152.
perish (v.11) — not loss of being, but loss of spiritual well-being and testimony
Verses 10-11 show how important it is to consider that when the weaker brother is constrained or emboldened by your action to eat meat sacrificed to idols, he really does sin, for it is in this very connection that Paul writes in Romans 14:14 and 23: … to him that esteemeth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean … And he that doubteth is condemned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”
But not only does the weaker brother sin when he follows your example in eating meat offered in sacrifice to idols: you sin also, both against your brother and against Christ (v.12). You gave him a guilty conscience and helped to destroy his Christian testimony and experience (v.11). — Stam, pages 152-153.
I will never again eat meat (v.13) — not loss of liberty but self-denial for the good of another. We don’t have the right to give up our liberty, but we do have the liberty to give up our rights.