You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy?
–1 Corinthians 10:21-22
Paul told the Corinthians to flee from idolatry. He said you cannot mix the worship of Christ and the worship of idols, and he illustrated that by pointing to the Lord’s Supper. Look at 1 Corinthians 10:16-17: “Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ? Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread.” When we worship together at the Lord’s table, we are not worshiping just any god; we are worshiping a specific God–the one true God who manifested Himself in Jesus Christ. In the same way, participating in the practices of idolatry is the same as worshiping that idol.
But the Corinthians wondered, “If those idols are not real, what difference does it make?” Paul answered that question by confirming the truth about idols. He said in verses 19-20, “What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No.” Is there anything real about an idol? Of course not. Psalm 115:5-8 explains how impotent idols really are: “They have mouths, but they cannot speak; they have eyes, but they cannot see; they have ears, but they cannot hear; they have noses, but they cannot smell; they have hands, but they cannot feel; they have feet, but they cannot walk; they cannot make a sound with their throat. Those who make them will become like them, everyone who trusts in them.”
But then Paul told the truth about demons. He said in 1 Corinthians 10:20, “The things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons.” Behind every idol, every false religion, is a demonic power. We see this in Psalm 106:35-37: “[The Israelites] mingled with the nations and learned their practices, and served their idols. . . . They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons.” When the Israelites and the Canaanites sacrificed their children, did they think they were sacrificing to demons? Of course not. But behind those false deities were demons.
In our inclusive culture, we get this idea that followers of other religions are just sincere seekers of the truth. They are trying to find God in their way. No–every false religion is demonically inspired to lead people away from God. Look at 1 Corinthians 10:21-22: “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? We are not stronger than He, are we?” You cannot mix the worship of Christ and the worship of idols. You cannot mix truth and error.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Ties That Bind” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.