And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
That’s from Acts of the Apostles, chapter 10, verse 15. If it seems like an odd, random choice, it is indeed “random.” I often say a quick prayer and then open the Bible to a random point. I consider it my way of letting the Spirit lead me to where I need to be, and I often gain my greatest insights doing this, and in times of need get the passage that most speaks to my current situation.
The context for this passage is a dream that Peter was having, in which he was told to rise and kill some animals, and eat them. He responded that he didn’t eat that which was impure or unclean. After all, he was a good Jewish boy, right? I don’t mean that snarkily, by the way. He was. This was after Jesus had risen, but many of the apostles still saw themselves as Jews, obviously, because Jesus was Jewish, too.
They still held to many of the old ways and the old laws and the old convenants, and there is nothing wrong with that. What was wrong was to see those old ways as the way to please God. God had made a better path, and that path was to honor and follow Jesus.
The passage above is worth remembering in part for the fact that we aren’t supposed to be slaves to the nit-pickiness of the law but to uphold the more salient and personal commandments (Love God and love your neighbor as yourself, which encompasses a lot of things and will ensure that we do right if we follow them). But I think there is something else to note about it.
God is saying that what He has signed off on is signed off on, no questions asked. We might complain about God’s ways, but we don’t have the right, or the power, to second-guess Him. Little Girl Blue can be mad at me for my decisions and question them, and I won’t get angry over that, but she doesn’t have the right to disobey me or ignore what I ask (or tell) her to do. In the same way, we don’t get to turn our noses up at what God has sanctified.
Are there people in your life with whom you’ve had bad blood, for example, and they come to Christ, and they are being better people…and yet you still spurn them? A lot of us have done that or are doing that right now. It isn’t right. And it isn’t our place.
We need to look at what God tells us, and we need to look at those around us who have chosen God’s path, and we need to get out of our own ways so that we can embrace those things and those people. We need to slough off the crap we continue to haul around and trust that what God has cleared, has been cleared for very good reason.
(Probably be an new installment of Cleansed By Fire posted later today, or possibly tonight, for those who are interested.)