Does God Hate Shrimp and Other Dumb Questions

There are lots of dumb excuses for ignoring God's moral laws. This 1-minute devotion offers a way to test whether an Old Testament law applies to us today. #BibleLoveNotes #Biblestudy

Sometimes people discredit New Testament commands by comparing them to Old Testament laws. For example: "If you believe homosexuality is wrong, you also need to quit eating shrimp because the Old Testament says that's a sin too" (Leviticus 11:9-12).

This statement shows a total misunderstanding of the purpose of the Old Testament external laws: they showed God's people that external law-keeping can't change our hearts or make us right with God (Romans 3:19-20; Romans 4:13-14; Galatians 3:23-25). 

The dietary laws proved that "it’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth" (Matthew 15:11). That is why God told New Testament Christians to no longer consider any food "unclean" (Acts 10:9-16). 

External dietary and cleansing laws were a "shadow of things to come," showing us that mankind is "unclean." Christ is the only One who can make us clean enough to stand in God's presence. Compare Leviticus 22:4-8 with Hebrews 10:1-25.

Cleansing, ceremonial, and sacrificial laws were not abolished; they were fulfilled. They had an important purpose in salvation history, but that purpose was completed in Christ (Explanation).

When people take Old Testament laws out of context, they are treating the Bible like a law book. But it's not a law book. It's an unfolding story (a true story). 

Besides Old Testament cleansing and dietary laws, there are civil laws given to the nation of Israel which must be viewed as just that: civil laws applying to a specific time and nation. For example, we are not expected to enforce the death penalty for adultery (Leviticus 20:10).(1)

So how do we know that homosexuality is a sin when eating shrimp isn't? How do we discern between Old Testament laws that foreshadowed Christ and moral commands that are permanent?  

The easiest answer is this: Is it commanded in the New Testament? If so, it's a permanent law. Homosexuality as well as premarital sex, adultery, lying, murder, greed, etc. are sins that make our souls "unclean." They are not simply external practices.

God doesn't hate shrimp. He hates behavior that damages our souls.
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For a good warning against Old Testament law-keeping, read the book of Galatians. See also Old Testament Laws.
(1) This is an example of an Old Testament law that contains a permanent principle but a temporary civil punishment. Adultery is a sin, always had been and always will be. But the death penalty was a civil law for the nation of Israel during the Old Testament time period. In order to set the nation of Israel apart as holy, punishments were more severe.

Would you like to do a quick, bite-sized study on this devotion? You can do that HERE.

To read what Scripture says about homosexual behavior, see: Biblical Teaching on Homosexuality.

There are lots of dumb excuses for ignoring God's moral laws. This 1-minute devotion offers a way to test whether an Old Testament law applies to us today. #BibleLoveNotes #Biblestudy

Bible Love Notes

5 comments:

  1. I respectfully disagree with your point that dietary laws have been done away with. On a basic level, you can research the digestive systems of unclean animals and understand why they are not meant for food. They were meant to clean the earth and are scavengers which makes them toxic. If God made them clean through the death of Jesus, He would have had to change the digestive system of the animals at that time.

    Peter states he has never eaten anything unclean. Why is that if the dietary laws have been done away with? If that is one of the laws Jesus died for, Peter would have known that. The principle in Acts 10 was to show Peter that people are not to be considered unclean and unworthy of a relationship with God. He even states in Acts 10:28 "But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean". The verse doesn't make any other reference to food which to me disqualifies it.

    I don't believe salvation comes by following a set of instructions, but I do believe in honoring God by following the instructions he set forth. You are only under the bondage of the law if you follow them begrudgingly.

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    1. Thanks, Tami, for sharing your views on this. You know I appreciate you and know you are seeking to honor God.

      I present a few disagreement below, not to be argumentative, but for he purposes of others who might read these comments.

      It's true we don't agree. I think the message of Scripture is straightforward in this area. If God was trying to tell Peter that foods were still unclean but people were not, then I don't believe he would have shown Peter unclean foods 3 times and said they were clean. This principle starts with dietary laws (one thing that separated Jews and Gentiles) but went much further.

      Peter said he had never eaten anything unclean when he received this vision, not afterward. I imagine he started eating unclean foods at the Gentile home of Cornelius.

      And it is no surprise that he still followed Jewish laws before this vision. One theme in the book of Acts was God's attempt to move the Jewish Christians beyond their race and religious background, out into the world. They certainly struggled against it,and Peter seemed to have a special problem with it. Paul was really the pioneer in this area, and it is no small thing that God called a very religious Jew to be his messenger to the Gentiles as well as to rebuke Peter when he forgot his vision and refused to eat with Gentile believers.

      Look at how amazed the other Apostle and elders were when Paul said he was sent to the Gentiles. These elders were believers but were not sharing Jesus with Gentiles just as Peter and many other Jewish believers were still following Old Testament dietary laws. Jesus made His mission to the world just as clear as the end to the dietary laws, but they were slow to understand either. Their refusal to fully embrace the New Covenant is by no means approval of their actions or law-keeping.

      Romans 14:14 is also extremely clear as well as the whole book of Galatians. Most of these passages were written because Jewish Christians were too weak in the faith to give up the O.T. laws.

      I agree that there may be health benefits in avoiding unclean foods just as there are health benefits in circumcision, but there is a huge difference between a healthy preference and a moral absolute.

      Having said these things, I hope you know that I do respect you, Tami. I pray that God will give us both wisdom as we seek to serve Him.
      Love,
      Gail

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  2. Thank you for taking the time to respond, Gail. I appreciate your posts because they are rich with wisdom and insights which challenge us to look at ourselves and perhaps make necessary adjustments. I should make a habit of commenting on those posts too as I read in agreement because I would imagine you don't often get encouragement for speaking the truth. I appreciate that about you. You have had a positive impact on me in my journey and I am grateful. We will agree that we disagree on this point, but I respect your perspective. Much love~ Tami

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    1. Thanks, dear friend, for your example of mature disagreement.
      Love,
      Gail

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  3. You're welcome...I'm learning! I value you more than my desire to argue a point.

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