Unclean. There is this important classification of things and people in the Mosaic Law which boxes up the clean and the unclean and provides rules for living. When Peter encounters God in Acts 10, God turns the rules on their side through grace…
21 Anyone who touches something unclean—whether human uncleanness or an unclean animal or any unclean creature that moves along the ground—and then eats any of the meat of the fellowship offering belonging to the Lord must be cut off from their people.
9 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.”
Peter knew all the laws of God and what would happen if he touched or ate things which were unclean. The Lord gave Peter a vision, however, to enlighten him to the truth that God has made all things clean as part of the grace of Jesus. This is hard teaching for people who love law and rules.
We have some of this in church today. It’s funny how in the church of Jesus, which is built upon freedom and grace, we accumulate rules and laws to control ourselves and produce righteousness. The rules don’t actually produce righteousness, yet to change them risks unrighteousness in the eyes of the law-keepers among us.
How often we read our Bibles, our order of service, songs we sing, and how we serve communion all become new laws – there are many more. Booze is a great example. Drinking alcohol, which our Lord Jesus did when he was on earth, is a sin to many people today. Not to God, yet definitely sinful in the eyes of some.
God may tell you or me to not drink alcohol for our own good (the Spirit speaking to our individual hearts), yet that’s individual conviction and not new law. And that’s how it works. Clean and unclean are less meaningful today than beneficial and fruitful under the conviction of the Spirit.
What areas of your life have become areas of new law?