A Diet of Distinction (Part Two)July 27, 2016 at 1:46 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
Tags: 1 Corinthians 10, 2 Corinthians 6, Biblical separation, Colossians 3, Deuteronomy 6, dietary laws, holiness, Leviticus 11, Proverbs 14, Psalm 139
In Part One we saw that the Old Testament dietary laws are no longer binding on New Testament Christians (Acts 10:9-16). They were perfectly kept, and, in a sense, fulfilled in Christ (Colossians 2:16- 22). Only the Old Testament moral laws, reiterated as the Law of Christ, are considered binding under the New Covenant.
One of the purposes of the Old Covenant dietary laws was that God wanted His people to be “holy.” The Hebrew word translated as “holy” in the Bible has a connotation of “cutting” (setting apart from other people) and “culling” (setting apart unto a dedicated purpose). God’s people are supposed to be “cut off” from sin, and “cut out of” this world’s system. God has always wanted His people to be distinct and different.
For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
The Jewish people were commanded to be unmingled with the world – not trapped in the sins associated with unbelievers. They were to be associated with the Lord’s name, not in name only, but in behavior and in every area of life. This was important partly in order to prevent His people from being influenced into moral sin, and partly to maintain the purity of the bloodline of the coming Messiah. The promised redeemer would have to be a descendant of Abraham in order to fulfill God’s promises.
New Testament Christians know that the Messiah has already come, but the principle concerning the danger of sinful influences still applies:
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
II Corinthians 6:14-18
An Old Testament Israelite could not eat with or stay in the home of a Canaanite because of the unclean foods and other unclean practices, so it would be very difficult to form relationships that would lead to intermarriages and procreation.
It would affect the witness and testimony of God’s people if they became intertwined in the lifestyle of pagan people groups.
A. God’s people should be distinct in their calling and conduct.
Our calling is to glorify God. Therefore our conduct – the way we behave – must bring glory to Him.
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
I Corinthians 10:31
God’s Old Testament people were supposed to conduct themselves in a way that let people know they truly believed that their God was real. We must do the same, but we can’t do that without being different from unbelievers, and without speaking His name and being identified openly with Him.
B. God’s people should be distinct in their conscience.
We need to have an awareness of God watching us in the smallest details of our lives.
Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
We must also have an awareness of God loving us and being willing and able to help us please in Him in every detail of our lives.
C. God’s people should be distinct their creeds.
We need to be able to articulate what we believe, and why we believe it. We need to be ready to cite Scripture to back it up.
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
D. God’s people should be distinct in their communication.
We should not use unclean language.
But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
We should not jest about sin.
Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour.
Next time, in Part Three, we will see how God’s dietary laws teach us to have a clean consistency.