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Archive for July 26th, 2016

The Epistle reading for this past Sunday (10rh Sunday after Pentecost/3 year Lectionary) is from Colossians 2, the emphases I have added:

16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

20 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— 21 “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” 22 (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings?23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

At first glance this Scripture seems to be irrelevant but no Scripture is ever irrelevant.  I emphasized the verses that I did because of their sharp commentary on today’s ‘godly eating’.  At one time food and drink was simply what is good or what is liked, but now with a wide array of diets and especially the introduction of veganism, vegetarianism, gluten free diets and secular fasting, we have ‘Kosher’ eating without even the orthodox Jewish reason to please God. Veganism and vegetarianism are ascetic and even severe to the body. They literally have the “appearance of wisdom” and many are impressed by those who so practice this type of secular ‘godly’ eating and drinking.

 The impression can be given, unintentionally or intentionally, that one is “disqualified” from  the sure salvation in Christ with all the rules:  “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch”.   But finally they do stop “the indulgence of the flesh”.  I think of comedian Redd Fox’s trenchant comment that health nuts will be surprised some day dying from nothing.  Only the Lord in His Word can reach and teach the soul and heart. He alone gives eternal life.  What does stops the indulgence of the flesh?  One word answer:  prayer. Without “human precepts and teachings” there is so much that can be enjoyed to the glory of God in all His good creation which He has given to us as food and drink.  Right eating and drinking  is not saving, only a right relationship with the Lord which He has freely given in His Son Jesus Christ Who is our daily bread:  “I am the Bread of Life…” (see John 6) which He freely gives to us all.  Without this bread, we are toast, and when we think certain charmed substances, or the avoidance of certain foods, can save the sinful body and soul! It’s like putting a band aid on a cancer.  

1 Timothy 4: Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared,who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer. (emphasis my own)

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