Monday, 23 December 2013
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
Paul’s thought today takes us right back to what was analyzed in verses 2 and 3. They state, “For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him.” At that time, it was noted that, “If Paul says, ‘one believes he may eat all things’ and he doesn’t later correct this during his discussion (which he will not), then it shows definitively that a believer can, in fact, eat all things.”
Today confirms that analysis. In an emphatic way, he gives two affirmations of the thought:
1) I know
2) And am convinced by the Lord Jesus
Paul’s understanding of the gospel, combined with his own personal instruction from the Lord, showed him (and thus he to us) “that there is nothing unclean of itself.” He is speaking of food in this passage and so states, as clearly as could possibly be stated, that any and all food is clean. There is no other way to interpret this without abusing the text, and yet denominations and cults are lined up to speak contrary to what is stated here, forbidding foods which God has ordained for us to eat. Again, “nothing is unclean of itself.”
However, something can be unclean, despite it being clean. And that is “to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.” By stating this, he has resolved two key points:
1) Nothing is unclean in and of itself
2) Violating one’s conscience will defile something that is clean
3) If the conscience is what defiles something, then if that conscience accepts that thing as clean, it remains clean.
That which is unclean is that which is received without faith. Should someone have a conscience about eating an animal because they feel bad for the animal (or for whatever reason), then that animal is to them unclean.
Through understanding Paul’s words today that nothing is unclean of itself, it then becomes incumbent on teachers of doctrine to properly teach that precept. To teach that any particular type of animal isn’t to be eaten because it is unclean becomes a violation of doctrine. The animal is clean; the conscience defiles. Personal conscience is not a reason to teach doctrine contrary to what the Bible states; it is sin.
Life application: If someone teaches a precept based on emotion or personal likes or dislikes rather than as the Bible instructs, they have sinned against God who gave the Bible. Be aware of such teachers and find other avenues of instruction for your doctrine and practice.
Lord, I thank You for the Gift of your Son; I thank You for His cross; I thank You for the Gift of Your Holy Spirit who has sealed me because of my faith in the work of Christ; and I thank You for Your word which has led me to understand these things. Now Lord, I would ask that You give me the boldness to go out and proclaim that which I am thankful for… to Your glory. Amen.