Commentary on "Life"
Day 3: Monday, April 20, 2009
The point is made in this lesson that since we owe our existence to our Creator, we have a responsibility to be careful with what he has entrusted to us, with special attention given to our physical health.
The lesson introduction make reference to the Hebrew "instructions about healthful eating". Yet, when we turn to the appropriate passages, we find a different purpose given for these 'health' rules:
But I have said unto you, Ye shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that floweth with milk and honey: I am the LORD your God, which have separated you from other people. Ye shall therefore put difference between clean beasts and unclean, and between unclean fowls and clean: and ye shall not make your souls abominable by beast, or by fowl, or by any manner of living thing that creepeth on the ground, which I have separated from you as unclean. And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine (Lev. 20:24-26).
It is not about good health or "physical education", it is about separation from the pagan people around them.
Keeping in mind the words of Lev. 20:24-25, consider the following well known vision of Peter's:
And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common (Acts 10:10-15 KJV).
Clearly, the message of the vision was in direct reference to the command given to the Hebrew people found in the Leviticus passage. Gentiles were no longer to be considered unclean. Therefore, the sign of the Hebrew separation from them concerning unclean foods did not apply to Christians, especially Gentiles.
If you introduce the Biblical message that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and use that as a motive for healthful living doctrine, consider the following verse:
There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man (Mark 7:15 KJV).
Certainly we are not to defile the temple of the Holy Spirit, but what does that have to do with externals such as the food we eat?
Now let's take a look at another phrase used in the lesson; "Jesus' understanding of religion was very much practice-oriented". Jesus, being the source of all knowledge, possesses far more than an "understanding". Religion is a man made attempt to reach God. Jesus is God and he came to us, not the other way around. He brings us the 'Word of life'. The phrase "practice-oriented" sounds like a back door way of introducing our 'works' into the theme of the life that Jesus gives us. The gospel message focuses on the fact that we were once dead in our sins and that we desperately need the righteousness that Jesus imputes into our lives when we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Our good practices are a result of his righteousness and are really the works that he produces in our lives.
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