What about foods that are unclean? Do you eat them?
Yes, and no. And if that sounds like an ambiguous answer, let me explain:
Christ’s sacrifice was perfect in that it cleansed all that was unclean, including the Gentile believers who were considered “dogs”, which God declared to Peter in a vision.
Physical food does not make a man spiritually unclean, which Jesus said Himself very clearly. However, it can make you sick. On the contrary, Christ said it is what comes out of a man’s mouth that makes him unclean, not what goes into it. However, those specific foods which are ‘blacklisted’ in God’s Law can make you physically unclean, yes. They can subject you to disease and illness. And so we also must understand that the purpose in the Law was for our physical well-being. God knew those foods could cause sickness and disease. But are they spiritually unclean? No. I believe all things are spiritually clean and good, if they are received with thanksgiving and prayer. We are told they are sanctified by God’s Word and prayer, and God’s word declares they have been cleansed. Therefore, when I get a hankering for a bacon, I’ll enjoy some. But I do so sparingly, because I know it’s not the best thing for me. Am I religious about it? No, because I enjoy my freedom in Christ, and I use moderation with wisdom. In fact, I eat pork on very rare occasions, and only if I trust the manner in which it was cooked and by whom it was prepared.
The Apostle Paul takes a considerable amount of time in teaching about food and drink. Obviously, this was a hot topic. He teaches that we should eat whatever is set before us, unless we know it’s been sacrificed to idols. He also tells us that one man’s faith teaches him to eat only vegetables, while another freely eats meat. Both are convinced before the LORD in their conscience, and to the LORD they stand or fall. Paul said the belly is for meat, and meat is for the belly, but God will destroy them both. The point is, we need to focus on what is of true value in God’s kingdom with the understanding that Christ has indeed made all things clean through His perfect sacrifice.
I believe issues such as this lie within an individual’s personal convictions. Never would I condemn someone who enjoys bacon, shellfish or any other food for that matter. If you really want to get legalistic about food, tap water would be considered unclean by Kosher standards. So I think we need to use wisdom, and some common sense. I thank God for the food He gives me so graciously, and I’m a healthy person. I watch what I eat and make healthy choices when I can, because I want to be a good steward of my body, which is His Temple.
I think the motivation in eating properly should be that of a pure heart. Sitting and eating doughnuts and drinking pop all day is just as bad as eating shellfish. Kosher or not, you’ll never find doughnuts or pop among God’s ‘blacklist’ in the Law of Moses. Yet, both are an abuse of the human body.
What is important to God above all else is respect for His Temple. And we are that temple wherein His Spirit dwells. As far as becoming unclean, we should be far more concerned about our inner man and outward conduct than what we eat. Although certain foods may not be physically healthy, they have no power to make us spiritually unclean according to Christ’s teaching.
So, with respect to the proposed question, do I eat unclean foods? Yes, at times I do. But they have no power to make me unclean before God. Here’s my question: Are we concerned about this issue of being ‘unclean’? Or are we concerned about ‘food’ specifically? Because if being unclean is the issue at hand, Christ makes it clear that our heart and mind should be precisely what we focus upon. It’s what comes out of a man’s mouth that makes him unclean — not what goes into it.