Friday, April 14, 2006

Not A Matter of Eating and Drinking

Today is Good Friday (the day of general public acknowledgement that Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross for the sins of all people), and I happen to be sitting with someone who was Jewish and another who was Catholic when the topic of what we had for lunch came up. The Catholic person remarked in mocked horror that she had pork and exclaimed that her mother would be horrified given that she was raised “Catholic”. The Jewish man responded that he had a kosher snack in honor of Passover. As I observed the exchange, the thought of the God’s scripture in the New Testament came to my mind: For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall. So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin. (Romans 14:17-23 NIV)

The above is a difficult scripture for many. To some it suggests that eating “unclean” food is a sin before God; to others it suggests that people who cling to legalistic eating and drinking laws before God are foolish. I believe however that it suggests neither. In it’s basic term, I believe it suggests that either observing eating laws or eating liberally can be valid if done in honor of Jesus Christ. It also suggests that refraining from both to honor another’s position is equally valid if your motivation is to further the glory of Christ.

As with all else in the Bible, honoring and worshipping Christ is the key.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Your statement, "As with all else in the Bible, honoring and worshipping Christ is the key" is very true. Not just regarding the subject of food or ritulatistic behaviors but with ALL ELSE honoring CHRIST IS THE KEY. We often don't honor Christ in most thoughts, behaviors and words and that is why behaviors at Christmas, Resurection Sunday (Easter) and Thanksgiving are based more on traditionalism or legalism.

A God who sends people to Hell?