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1 Corinthians 8:11

And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?


L Berkhof      Systematic Theology
A third class of passages which seem to militate against the idea of a limited atonement consists of those which are said to imply possibility that those for whom Christ died fail to obtain salvation. Rom 14:15 and the parallel passage in 1Co 8:11 may be mentioned first of all. Some commentators are of the opinion that these passages do not refer to eternal destruction, but it is more likely that they do. The apostle simply wants to bring the uncharitable conduct of some of the stronger brethren in the Church into strong relief. They were likely to offend the weaker brethren, to cause them to stumble, to override their conscience, and thus to enter upon the downward path, the natural result of which, if continued, would be destruction. While Christ paid the price of His life to save such persons, they by their conduct tended to destroy them. That this destruction will not actually follow, is evident from Rom 14:4; by the grace of God they will be upheld. We have here then, as Dr. Shedd expresses it, "a supposition, for the sake of argument, of something that does not and cannot happen," just as in 1Co 13:1-3; Gal 1:8. Another, somewhat similar, passage is found in 2Pe 2:1, with which Heb 10:29 may also be classed. The most plausible explanation of these passages is that given by Smeaton, as the interpretation of Pisctor and of the Dutch annotations, namely "that these false teachers are described according to their own profession and the judgment of charity. They gave themselves out as redeemed men, and were so accounted in the judgment of the Church while they abode in her communion."

John Gill     Expositor
And through thy knowledge
. These words contain an aggravation of the sin such persons are guilty of, who are the means, by their example, of ensnaring weak minds, and causing them to stumble and fall, even in some sense so as to perish.

shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? Every word almost carries in it an exaggeration of this matter; it is not some slight injury that is done to the person, but even causing him to "perish"; and this is not said of any person, but a "brother", to whom the strongest affection, and strictest regard, should be shown; and a "weak" brother, of whom the greater care should be taken; and therefore it is an instance of cruelty to do damage to such an one, and that not ignorantly, which cannot be pretended, but "through thy knowledge"; not through the true use, but abuse of it: those that have knowledge should know better, and improve it to the edification, and not the destruction of fellow Christians; and all this done in a case of indifference, that might as well be let alone, of which there was no necessity for the doing of it: but what aggravates most of all is, that this affects a person for "whom Christ died"; that he had such a value for as to purchase and redeem with the price of his own blood; and yet these men made so little account of, as by so trifling a thing to risk their good and welfare. Some would from hence conclude the doctrine of universal redemption, that Christ died for all men, even for them that perish; but it should be observed, that the words are put by way of interrogation, and prove no matter of fact, even supposing they could be understood of eternal ruin and destruction; and at most only imply the danger and possibility thereof through offences given, were they not preserved by the power and grace of God through Christ, who died for them, and so will not suffer them to perish; though this is no thanks to them who lay stumbling blocks in their way, and, as much as in them lies, cause them to perish, in this sense: besides, the "perishing" of this weak brother is to be understood of his peace and comfort, and is explained by "defiling" his conscience, 1Co 8:7 by wounding it, 1Co 8:12 and making him to offend, 1Co 8:13 through an imprudent use of Christian liberty in those who had the greater knowledge, and by a participation of things offered unto idols, in an idolís temple, and not of his eternal damnation in hell; which could never enter into the apostleís thought, as to be brought about hereby, as appears from 1Co 8:8 and so is no proof of Christís dying for such as perish eternally: for those for whom Christ has died, he has by his death procured such blessings for them, as a justifying righteousness, pardon of sin, peace with God, reconciliation unto him, and eternal salvation, which will for ever secure them from perishing in such sense.

Jamieson, Fausset, Brown     Commentary
shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?
óA single act seemingly unimportant may produce everlasting consequences. The weak brother loses his faith, and if he do not recover it, his salvation (Rom 14:23).

For whom Christ diedóand for whose sake we too ought to be willing to die (1Jo 3:16). And yet professing Christians at Corinth virtually tempted their brethren to their damnation, so far were they from sacrificing aught for their salvation. Note here, that it is no argument against the dogma that Christ died for all, even for those who perish, to say that thus He would have died in vain for many. Scripture is our rule, not our suppositions as to consequences. More is involved in redemption than the salvation of man: the character of God as at once just and loving is vindicated even in the case of the lost for they might have been saved, and so even in their case Christ has not died in vain. So the mercies of Godís providence are not in vain, though many abuse them. Even the condemned shall manifest Godís love in the great day, in that they too had the offer of Godís mercy. It shall be the most awful ingredient in their cup that they might have been saved but would not: Christ died to redeem even them.