But Peter said, “No, Lord! I have never eaten food that is unholy or unclean.”
But the voice said to him again, “God has made these things clean, so don’t call them unholy!” Acts 10:14-15 (NCV)
He said, “You people understand that it is against our law for Jewish people to associate with or visit anyone who is not Jewish. But God has shown me that I should not call any person ‘unholy’ or ‘unclean.’ Acts 10:28 (NCV)
Peter began to speak: “I really understand now that to God every person is the same. In every country God accepts anyone who worships him and does what is right. You know the message that God has sent to the people of Israel is the Good News that peace has come through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Lord of all people! Acts 10:34-36 (NCV)
Interestingly enough, my husband and I were recently discussing whether or not God redeems what is considered ‘unholy’ by man.
Our oldest daughter was given kolusu, sterling silver anklets with little bells on them, by her uncle according to Indian custom. Though she didn’t wear them much in the US, she has been wearing them non-stop since we arrived back in India, which is great because I can locate her much easier when she is playing. I mentioned today that I would like to also get a pair for our younger daughter, to help stimulate her desire for walking, and maybe even a simpler pair for myself (I always loved the idea of wearing anklets).
My husband continued the conversation by saying that these anklets are not only an Indian custom, but also a Hindu tradition, allowing one of the gods to enjoy the sounds of the bells and to also keep the devils away. I countered by expressing my belief that God is the creator of bells and what the enemy may try to steal for his purposes is redeemed again by God. Our exchange ended with a “to be continued.”
I was impressed today by Peter’s understanding of the redemption in Christ in regards to people, concerning the laws of Moses. It is so easy for me to judge someone based on external appearances, customs, behaviors or choices that differ from my own. It is easy for me to deem something ‘unclean’ or ‘unholy’ because my opinion differs; and it is easy for me to throw random, out of context Bible verses at the ‘problems’ to try and make them go away or change. But my judgments of things is not God’s judgment of things; and it is not even my role to make judgment in the first place (James 4:11-12; Romans 2:1-4).
Jesus exemplified this revolution by consistently associating with those that the people and the law considered ‘unholy’ and ‘unclean’-tax collectors, homosexuals, lepers, prostitutes…the demon possessed, diseased individuals like the woman with the issue of blood, and those who had died-all those walking in sin, no matter how big or how small the sin.
He wasn’t concerned with their current state of uncleanness. He knew that their personal experiences of His Agape love would change their hearts forever. He knew that He was planting seeds in their hearts for the future. He knew they were simply diamonds in the rough. He knew that they were children of God who had not yet realized their true identity, and therefore had not yet been ‘cleansed’.
Christ’s sacrifice on the cross changed everything. He brought redemption and restoration of hearts into countless lives. His resurrection, His gift of grace fulfilled the law and made holy what was once unholy through belief in Him. What an amazing inheritance, what an incredible birthright for God’s sons and daughters, those who know Him personally, and those whose eyes have yet to be opened.
Yesappa, Open the eyes of my heart and allow Your love to enter in a deeper way, Your agape love for Your people, the redeemed and those who have yet to give themselves to You. Help me walk in love and not judgment. Give me Your compassion for Your children and help me bring Your Light into their lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.