New Testament on food laws.
Sung Psalm 119:17-24
Read Mark 7:1-23
Modern arguments for keeping the OT food laws might include:
- Christ as our example who kept them.
- The idea that all God’s truth and commands are eternal.
- The idea Christ in passages like the above addresses traditions, not commandments.
But Christ clearly teaches that no food, per se, defiles (v15), rather it is our total depravity that defiles us, issuing in wicked thoughts, words and actions. The Pharisees were majoring on hand-washing, which of course is hygienic, but which had become traditional legalism.
The Pharisees and their successors today (Anabaptists, cultists and some fundamentalist denominations) are guilty of adding man-made traditions to their rule of life which usually displace God’s commands (Matthew 23:26). The danger is of making food “fads” real religious scruples (Romans 14) and forgetting much more important matters (Matthew 23:23). Legalism will either distract or even damn the works-righteous person! We discussed, at some length, eating, exercising, smoking and other habits that affect our bodies and there is no doubt that two principles ought to underlie all we do namely, that we reap what we sow (Gal.6:7-8) and we are called to wise stewardship of our bodies (I Cor.6:20, Heidelberg Cat L.D.40).