Unlimited: Nothing is Unclean in Itself
Oct 13, 2023 204
I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself (Romans 14:14a).
Paul is referring here, in context, to the Jewish tradition of considering some foods as clean and others as unclean. In most of Paul’s letters he is dealing with the ongoing problem of the demands of some Jewish followers of Jesus on the large number of Gentiles who have joined the Christian faith.
However, and more specifically, he is also dealing with the issue of food sacrificed to idols. This was an issue that in that culture, the pagan temples served also as the butcheries, and meet was habitually offered to idols first before being sold to the public. Additionally if you were invited to a banquet, it was generally held in the pagan temples as well. Paul also deals with this issue in his first letter to the Corinthian church (1 Cor 8:1-11; 1 Cor 10:23-33).
Food isn’t clean or unclean in itself.
What Paul is telling us here is that food is food. There might be better quality food and lower quality food, or healthier and unhealthier food, but food isn’t clean or unclean in itself. What you eat isn’t in itself a moral issue. Paul says that he is “convinced” and “fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus” about this. For Paul this is a radical departure from his Jewish background.
It is important that we be “fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus” about the lifestyle choices that we make for our own lives, and that we don’t try to impose them on others. Are you able to justify your own personal choices in the light of your relationship with Christ?