Christianity 201

May 13, 2014

Everything Created is Good

I Timothy 4:1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

The key verse for today is verse 4, and the Reformation Study Bible sums it up for us:

Contrary to the false teachers, the Christian affirms the essential goodness of God’s creation

and then adds a reference to Genesis 1,

And God saw that it was good.

Matthew Henry associates this passage to Peter’s vision in Acts 10:15

About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. 13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”

14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”

15 The voice spoke to him a second time, Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”

The discussion about food is a theme that continues throughout many Second Testament passages. You can imagine that transitioning from a system where certain things were forbidden to a new freedom and liberty would be difficult both for those who made the transition, and for those who clung on to the old rules.   The entirety of Romans 14 is devoted to this as well as the keeping of special days.

One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables…

Who are you to judge someone else’s servant?

One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind…

12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God…

13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean…

So why do some hold so tightly to certain rules and try to impose them on others? Paul addresses this in Colossians 2:22-23 (underlined)

16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. 19 They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.

20 Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

The highest principle on these things is found in five little words in I Cor. 6:20

19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, … You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.


For some of today’s thoughts, I am deeply grateful for a small booklet published in 1981 by InterVarsity Press, What’s Right, What’s Wrong? Questions of Christian Conduct by Donald E. DeGraaf. This tiny book had a huge impact on me in my formative Christian years and I was able to find it this weekend and read it out loud for our family prayer time.

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