Monday, 4 June 2018
To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. Titus 1:15
Paul now cites his thoughts which are a close match of what he said to those in Rome. Two verses in particular carry the same intent –
“I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.” Romans 14:14
“Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense.” Romans 14:20
It is probably the same major subject which is on Paul’s mind here, that of foods which are acceptable to eat. The fact is that there is no food which is excluded for the Christian. There were dietary laws under the Law of Moses, but these were temporary in nature. After the flood, everything was given to man as food –
“And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand. 3 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.” Genesis 9:2, 3
However, at the time of the giving of the law, certain foods were prohibited. In studying these foods, it becomes clear that the Lord chose these, not because they were inherently unclean, but because they pointed to New Testament truths about the work of Christ. To understand this, here is a link to the first of two sermons which explains it quite well. Click here.
With the understanding that Paul is most probably speaking of foods, his words certainly extend to other moral and religious issues as well. And so he begins with “To the pure all things are pure.” Considering food alone, one could simply think of a nice big pork chop. A person who is cleansed by Christ understands that this is an acceptable food; it is pure. Jesus even alluded to this before His work was complete –
“When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, ‘Hear and understand: 11 Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.’” Matthew 15:10, 11
Mark 7:19 is equally clear on this issue as well. In the finished work of Christ, the law is set aside. There are no longer dietary restrictions. Paul says that those who are in Christ are pure, and to them all things are pure, “but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure.”
What this means is that a person who does not believe that Christ’s work was effectual for the annulment of the law can’t accept this premise. Instead, these foods remain unclean to him. But even more, he says that “nothing is pure.” To them, everything is a source of defilement. They are clinging onto this worldly life, trying to please God apart from the completed and all-sufficient work of Christ. In such a state, they will always be defiled, and everything they encounter is likewise impure. The is because “even their mind and conscience are defiled.”
Without a complete faith in what Jesus did, the conscience of any person remains defiled. There are all sorts of laws which man fails at daily. And with a violation of the law comes the imputation of sin. However, when one understands that we are no longer under law, but rather grace (Romans 6:14, 15), he then realizes that sin is no longer imputed (Romans 5:13).
In other words, the person who has a defiled conscience is impure, and to him nothing is pure. But a person who has his conscience cleansed from defilement by the work of Christ understands that all foods are acceptable. There is no imputation of sin; God has accepted him.
Life application: Pork chop anyone?
Heavenly Father, thank You that we are freed from the constraints of the law because Jesus fulfilled it in our place. We no longer have to worry about dietary restrictions, observing certain days, performing certain rituals, or any of those other things which are now annulled and obsolete, because He has completed them for us. We now have a new direction and are brought into a close, personal, and wonderful relationship with You because of Him. Such freedom! Such grace! Praise You for Jesus our Lord! Amen.