Unclean and Clean People
Some Christians pass on bacon or ham with their eggs this morning due to the Mosaic Law’s prohibition that was was given to and for Israel only.
Despite Paul’s declaration that we are “not under the Law” (Rom. 6:14), and his assurance that “every creature of God is good [for food]” (I Tim. 4:4), many Christians remain convinced that “the swine…is unclean” (Lev. 11:7).
If this is your religious conviction you might consider the reason God determined that pork was unclean.
Recall and note how after God instructed Peter to eat an array of unclean animals in Acts 10:9-16, when God sent Peter to the house of Cornelius, a Gentile, you would think that Peter would say “God showed me that I should not call any animal unclean.” But instead, Peter testified that God had shown him;
“that I should not call any MAN common or unclean” (Acts 10:28).
The matter is really an example of the need for “rightly dividing the word of truth” and recognizing how God was changing the program, though it is not directly said as such until Paul came on the scene.
You see, Peter understood that the only reason God made certain meats unclean was to teach Israel that certain people were unclean: “The Gentiles.”
“…I am the Lord your God, which have separated you [Israel] from other people. Ye shall therefore put difference between clean beasts and unclean…” (Lev. 20:24,25).
Thus, Peter was given information that would help Peter to recognize and acknowledge that Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles as “the apostle to the Gentiles” (Roman 11:13) was of God and legitimate. Peter later testified on behalf of Paul’s unique ministry and gospel in the conclave of Acts 15. For Paul’s gospel was equally for lost unbelieving Jews and much as lost Gentiles.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in [the church, called the body of] Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)
We know that those who hold that pork is still unclean would never say that any people are still unclean (unworthy of being offered the gospel of salvation), and so we invite all who hold this view to recognize the SYMBOLISM that Peter understood and acknowledged, and rejoice with us in that during today’s age of “the dispensation of the grace of God” there are no foods and No People that are unclean in God’s sight.
- Portions adapted from Ricky Kurth -