(Continued from yesterday)
The Lord’s Teaching. Jesus chided the Pharisees and the scribes on their neglecting the commandment of God to hold on their tradition, in this particular instance ceremonial washing, but in passing pronounced a principle on food:
• Mk 7:19 because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.) See also Mt 15:11, 17-18
What’s external does not make a person unclean. It’s the internal evil that defiles a person. So why insist on following OT laws re what’s ceremonially clean or unclean?
Peter’s Vision. When God wanted to break down Peter’s prejudice against Gentiles and evangelize them, He gave him a vision of four-footed animals, crawling creatures, and birds, and asked him to kill and eat. Critics claimed that the objective was only to teach Peter not to call any man unholy or unclean (Acts 10:28), and has nothing to do with setting aside food laws.
• Acts 10:15 Again a voice came to him a second time, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.”
Of course the object was v 28, which Peter realized on his own after three times (v 16). My question is, “Would God have told Peter v 15 if it were not true? Would He have used this as an object lesson if it weren’t relevant?” Even biased Peter caught on, but apparently not the critics.
Paul’s Teaching. Paul used food as an illustration to teach principles of conscience in Rom 14, in particular vegetables (v 2) versus meat (v 21). In 1 Tim 4 he touched on food again, but in the context of apostasy in the last days, when liars seared in their own conscience forbid certain foods:
• Romans 14:14, 20 I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. … Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense.
• 1 Tim 4:3-5 men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.
The issue is not whether the food is ceremonially clean or unclean, as all are intrinsically clean, but whether we are causing our brother to stumble (Rom 14:13, 21) and hurting him (v 15). What’s important is love, not food laws. This is reinforced in 1 Tim 4.
So my conclusion after looking at who the laws are addressed to in the OT and NT, the Lord’s, Peter’s and Paul’s teachings, is that I do not have to eat kosher foods. I understand the opposing view’s arguments as to why they think the dietary laws are still binding, but I disagreed that we should put ourselves under the yoke of the law when God had delivered us to live under grace. I can legitimately eat the seafood that I like, only not to excess. After all, all things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable or edify (1 Co 6:12; 10:23).