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Thursday, February 21, 2013

No More Dietary Laws

The Old Testament includes a detailed system of dietary laws forbidding the consumption of certain "unclean" foods.

There is some evidence that these laws had purposes related to disease, sanitation, and storage of food in Old Testament times, and there are still some health and nutritional benefits from following them. 

But the New Testament clearly abolishes these laws. They have nothing to do with holiness or obedience to God. 

In Acts 10: 9-15 God gives Peter a clear vision about dietary laws:  

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.” 

But even before this, Christ was paving the way for these changes. When the Pharisees asked why He didn’t follow their hand-washing laws* in Matthew 15:10, 11, 17-20:

“Jesus called the crowd to him and said, ‘Listen and understand. 11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them… 17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”

* In addition to foods, certain activities made a person unclean. That's why the Old Testament had detailed laws for body cleansing. These laws represented our unworthiness to enter God's presence. But Christ's sacrifice made us clean and allowed us to enter God's presence on Christ's merits alone. Hebrews 10:19-20 says, "And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. 20 By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place." NLT

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture from NIV
copyright, Gail Burton Purath, 2013, BiteSizeBibleStudy.blogspot.com 

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