Updated: Jan 29, 2022
The topic of "Unclean Meats" is also a topic that has divided the church. This however is derived from the Jewish customs. Paul was a huge advocate for Christ, always admonishing that he is the end of the law. There is such simplicity in the gospel and in Christ.
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
These two commandments sum up all the law; love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind; and thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. This is the simplicity of the gospel revealed. The gospel is simply love, void of rituals and sacrifices of old, because God is love and he has come to make his abode in us.
Paul said it like this
Gal 5:22-23 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance:against such there is no law.
Paul is simply saying here that once we manifest the fruit of the Spirit we will be within the boundaries of the law. This is because Jesus is the fulfilment of all the law. He is the Word made flesh. Therefore when we are placed in Him at salvation we are freed from all the laws that were against us.
Col 2:10-14 10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
Paul often declared that his measure as an apostle was to reveal unto the Gentiles their fellowship in the mystery of God. That they too are called to be heirs by Jesus Christ. Consider how Paul speaks of the law above. The customs and rituals of the law were laid upon his flesh, and were nailed to the cross. Therefore the law, which separated Jew from Gentile, was now destroyed by the work of the cross.
In order for us to truly embrace this we have to see this through God's eyes.
The law was given to an unrighteous man**********
5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:
6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;
7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.
8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;
9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;
The law was not given to the sons of God, but rather the sons of men. Let us not forget that all the sons of men were born in sin and shapen in iniquity. The body of the unsaved man is a body of sin and therefore the soul could not do righteousness (See Salvation Series Pt 2). Therefore God had to give laws unto them so that they could be accounted as righteous. They could not be righteous themselves so they had to do things to be accounted as righteous.
However we are not the sons of men but we are the sons of God. We are not born in sin, but rather we are born again. We do not own bodies of sin, but rather our body is the form of God (Phil 2:5-6) and the members of Christ (1 Cor 6:15). Jesus is in us, therefore we too are the fulfilment of all the law. The law would account a man as righteous, however we are made the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:21).
Therefore seeing that the sons of God are made righteous and perfect the law is of no significance to them. They have the law written in their hearts, and so their nature is righteous.
19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law:that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
This is so because the sending of the law revealed to all mankind that they could not stop sinning even if they desired to (Rom 7:5-24)
20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight:for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Before the law was sent there was no knowledge of the righteousness of God, however seeing that the law has been sent defining righteousness, anyone who now disobeys the law does it knowingly
21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe:for there is no difference:
The law and the prophets witness the righteousness of themselves in us. We are the law and the prophet fulfilled because Christ is in us. Now it is our nature to do righteousness. The righteousness of God is the Holy Ghost, and He is the one that justifies.
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness:that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
All humans were born in sin, for this cause Christ died, thus remitting sins, that we all might be born again. When we receive His Spirit we are justified freely because we are placed in Jesus himself, and he is sinless and will never sin in the flesh. We may have sinned before we got saved but Jesus has never sinned. That is why we are in Him and He is in our bodies. (See Salvation Series Pt 8). We are now made the righteousness of God because we are in Him and He is in us.
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay:but by the law of faith.
28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
The works of the law cannot save us, neither do they justify us, it is the faith of Jesus Christ that saves us.
With all that said let us go see where the controversy began
1 And the Lord spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth.
3 Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat.
4 Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof:as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
5 And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
6 And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
7 And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you.
8 Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.
9 These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters:whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.
10 And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:
11 They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.
We have been through the fact that the specification of meats was a custom under the law but I would love to parallel this with a vision Peter had.
9 On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:
10 And he became very hungry, and would have eaten:but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,
11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:
12 Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.
14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.
15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
We all know this to be a vision, that had brought the revelation to Peter that the gospel was now to be preached unto to the Gentiles in the four corners of the earth. However there is an aspect of this vision that we cannot ignore. The Lord used meats in the vision and he also gave an instruction unto Peter to "kill and eat."
This is something we ought to examine, if the Lord has a problem with the eating of meats why would He instruct Peter to eat? Our God is not a God of confusion. He simply meant what he said. Now a Jewish Christian could consume of the same meats a Gentile could, because Christ is the end of the law.
The controversy of meats is ended with the following scripture
1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
2 For one believeth that he may eat all things:another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth:for God hath received him.
4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up:for God is able to make him stand.
5 One man esteemeth one day above another:another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.
8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord:whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.
9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more:but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.
rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.
14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself:but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
15 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.
16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of:
17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
20 For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.
21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.
23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith:for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
This scripture is so powerful. Paul sets the perspective of the eating of meat in the church. The principle is that it matters not that you eat meat or not, but whether we eat or not we do it unto the Lord and He is glorified. We therefore ought not to judge a man in his decision to eat or eat not, because whether they eat or eat not they do it unto the Lord, neither has sinned.
Paul lets us know that there is nothing unclean, however if a man's conscience is weak and will not allow the truth to deliver him from the law, bear him and allow him to eat his herbs. If one is truly free from the law and walking in faith he will be happy to eat, because he would have discerned his freedom, however if he is doubtful and eats he is in trouble because his doubt is a manifestation of a lack of fellowship. With fellowship the Lord would let us know that we are free to eat.
This is where sin is found, when a man is condemned to hell for eating or not. It is at this point that we create heresy and devilish doctrines. God will not send anyone to hell who is holy, so it matters not what they ate during their lives. It does not matter to the Lord what we eat, as long as we eat unto Him.
Well there you have it
16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
Our body is of Christ. He is the fulfilment of the law. All these customs were a shadow of either Christ in the flesh or of His reign in the millennium. The scripture teaches that it is not what goes into a man that defiles him but what comes out (Matt 15:11). Let us not be divided because of meats. THE RESPECT OF MEATS IS IDOLATRY BECAUSE IT RENDERS THE WORK OF THE CHRIST INSUFFICIENT TO SAVE.
So, be free! bon appétit.
Written on: November 2015