Author: Michele at ScriptureStudy.Guide
Posted: August 18, 2021. Updated November 21, 2021.
Many wonderful Christians are being pulled back into bondage by practicing a works-based faith. This article will cover one of those works: Abstaining from eating pork and shellfish, or as my favorite bible teacher calls it, the Doctrine of Pork Chops.
We will not find the Doctrine of Pork Chops as being one of the Doctrines of Jesus Christ, even though it is being taught as such by some.
But God’s Law Says To Avoid The Unclean
We are aware that under the old covenant written in the Old Testament, God made a list of unclean things which included menstruating women, touching a dead body, touching certain animals, etcetera (end of book of Exodus and book of Leviticus).
However, God fulfilled the old covenant and overcame physical unclean things through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, and provided us with a new covenant which is explained in the New Testament.
Because of this, those who believe in the Doctrine of Pork Chops find their most promising support of their perspective using this one verse found in the New Testament which speaks of the new covenant:
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.2 Corinthians 6:17
The Pork Chop Doctrine followers focus on the phrase “touch not the unclean thing.” For starters, the word “thing” is not in the original language at all (which is why it is italicized in the KJV bible), so we are actually dealing with the phrase “touch not the unclean.”
God’s Original Language
So let’s obey God and trust not the human translators of His infallible and perfect Word (Psalms 118:8), and look in our Strong’s Concordance for the original language meaning of the words “touch” and “unclean” used in 2 Corinthians 6:17.
Touch: Greek 680 – here, it means “to attach oneself to.”
The 1828 Webster’s Dictionary defines “attach” as “To take, seize and lay hold on, by moral force, as by affection or interest; to win the heart;”
Unclean: Greek 169 – here, it means “impure.”
The 1828 Webster’s Dictionary defines “impure” as “not pure; obscene; unchaste; lewd; unholy.” It also means “Unclean; in a legal sense; not purified according to the ceremonial law of Moses.” Webster makes it clear in the understanding of his day that something is only unclean under the old covenant of Moses if it wasn’t or couldn’t be purified through the blood sacrifice of an animal.
Correct Translation of 2 Corinthians 6:17
We see in the original Greek language, the phrase “touch not the unclean” actually means “do not attach yourself to that which is impure.”
If we do not attach ourselves to (worship) the things of the world, God will receive us. That is His true Word. The verse says nothing about not eating certain foods, or physically touching something with our fingers or our tongue. To “attach ourselves to” is a spiritual act.
Jesus’ Blood Sanctifies and Cleanses
According to God’s commandments, in order to make an unclean thing, clean, blood must be shed (Hebrews 9:22). Under the old covenant, this was done by sacrificing an animal on an uncut stone altar (Deuteronomy 27:6).
Now, under the new covenant, it’s Jesus’ blood which has sanctified and cleansed us — no altar or physical earthly action is required for purification.
9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.Hebrews 10:9-10
By God’s grace, we are saved through faith. There is no work that man can do to purify himself (Ephesians 2:8-9).
But Mercy is Not an Excuse to Sin!
Who said choosing pork over beef or shrimp over fish is a sin? It sure wasn’t Jesus; in fact, He taught the opposite.
The Lord came to Peter in a vision to teach him that nothing He has cleansed under His new covenant is unclean.
12 Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. 14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. 15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.Acts 10:12-15
Not only did the Lord show Peter that all foods are cleansed by the blood of Jesus, but Peter also learned through the vision that God no longer considered it unlawful for Jews to dine with Gentiles at the same table (Acts 10:28). The laws of old were purified under the new covenant of grace (Hebrews 9:15).
Our Food is Sanctified By Prayer
God tells us that when we pray over our food, He will sanctify it by the blood of Jesus so it will nourish our bodies. Every creature of God is good and nothing is to be refused if received with thanks.
3 ….commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: 5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.1 Timothy 4:3-5
Those who abstain from certain meats/foods interpret the phrase “word of God and prayer” to mean “instructions in the bible and prayer.” The instructions they refer back to are those of old covenant law which is now fulfilled by grace through Christ.
The accurate translation of “word of God and prayer” is “Jesus Christ and prayer.” Jesus Christ IS the word of God. Jesus is referred to as the Word all throughout the bible.
He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.Revelation 19:13
Our food — ALL foods — are sanctified by the blood of Jesus and prayer.
Our Bodies Are God’s Temple
God tells us that nothing a man can put into his mouth, and nothing outside of a man, can defile the temple of God.
There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him:Mark 7:15a
This verse literally states that man cannot take something that is outside of him and defile himself by putting it into him. Consuming food of any kind does not make one unholy or unrighteous when it is consumed with prayer and thanksgiving. God tells us in His word that He has sanctified it.
Judge Not Others By What They Eat
Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.Romans 14:3
Being judgmental about church groups holding BBQ pork sandwich fundraisers or poking fun of Christians “sucking on pork chops” at dinner is not being very supportive of the ekklesia. The very judgment itself comes from a place of weak faith:
For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.Romans 14:2
This line of thinking causes the judgmental to see us pork-eaters as “flawed Christians.” They develop the desire to distance themselves from many of their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ which is completely against the teachings of Christ.
Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. 10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.Romans 14:4 & 10
Jesus’ only expectations of us is to serve Him and love others (John 6:29). We do not have a problem with those who withhold foods from their diet, but those of us who consume pork and shellfish sure do receive a lot of condemnation from those who do not.
Good Ministers Preach All Foods Are Clean
Reminding the brethren that all foods are good and not to be refused because they are sanctified through Jesus’ blood and prayer, makes one a good minister of Jesus Christ.
4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: 5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. 6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.1 Timothy 4:4-6
If something is unclean for you to put into your mouth and swallow, then it is also unclean for it to touch your lips. If it’s unclean for your lips, then it’s unclean for you to touch it with your fingers. What happens if you’re eating at the neighbor’s house and they ask you to carry the plate of ham to the table? Do you say no for fear of the plate? What if the juice touches your finger? What is going to happen to you? What if you ingest a piece of bacon that fell into the green bean casserole? What if you’re buying beef at the store and pork grease was transferred onto the package by the stocker? What if the hushpuppies you ordered with your fish was fried in the same grease as the shrimp?
“Oh she’s just being ridiculous.” Am I? Leviticus 11:24-28 goes on and on about how touching these animals will make one unclean, and isn’t that the law you are following? Are you going to reason that a food is only unclean for you if you swallow it and not if it just touches your finger? How is your stomach part of God’s temple but your skin organ is not? Is any of this works-based foolishness something supported by the new covenant of God with His people? Has not Jesus’ blood overcome absolutely everything of this world? (John 16:33)
Why Would Christians Practice Works-Based Faith?
Each person called of God must do all things in faith:
And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.Romans 14:23
Those who have not moved all the way into believing through faith that Jesus Christ’s blood has cleansed all, will battle spiritually with things of the world and may seek a way of the physical world to handle it — that way will always cause one to falsely interpret their salvation through the works-based old covenant law.
The phrase “I will receive you” in 2 Corinthians 6:17 is a promise that all Christians desire; but those seeking to work for it instead of surrendering their guilt over to Jesus are going to look for another way to attain it — through an earthly work by reverting back under the punitive covenant laws of unclean things.
Those carrying guilt who are seeking an earthly work to receive approval, also cling to John 14:15 where the Lord says “if you love me, you will keep my commandments.” They are trying to prove their love through an earthly work by digging up old punitive laws when all that is needed is to obey God’s commandments — He has written His commandments in our minds and hearts (Jeremiah 31:33).
God gave us many laws, but the physical works-based laws have been fulfilled and conquered through Jesus’ blood so we may be able to adhere to the spiritual laws through His grace.
Yes, Jesus taught Torah, but the old law was meant as a foreshadow of things to come (Colossians 2:16-17). The Savior was sent to FULFILL the law by the cleansing of His blood (Matthew 5:17-18) — the law is no longer of this earth, but is inside of us by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We are now in God’s spiritual kingdom and not of the world. The completeness of the law came with the ending of animal sacrifices and by the sanctification and purification of Jesus’s blood.
Praise God that He has purified us completely. We must walk by faith so we may have TRUE works which are the fruits of the spirit, against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23). We do not walk by the physical works of our hands. Not eating pork is not going to clear our consciences, and not consuming shrimp is going to make us any more accepted by God.
We Learn Humility Through Correction
God reveals the truths of His Word to His chosen at different times — this is His design for our own benefit.
We all benefit from correction when we realize the error of our thinking — not only does it increase our understanding of the Lord, but it keeps us humble with a student learner’s frame of mind. Haughtiness will prevent us from entering through the gates (Proverbs 16:18).
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.2 Timothy 3:16-17
God desires us to speak His truths as He has given us understanding, to make perfect the man of God. We will be held accountable by God for what we share and what we believe.
My heart desires God’s Israel to be free from bondage, as is His Will. My prayer for those practicing a works-based faith is that they will completely surrender themselves over to Jesus Christ; further strengthen their faith so they will finally be released from bondage and fully enter the rest of the Holy Spirit. May we all accept the fullness of the mercy in Christ Jesus. Amen.
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