No Thing is Unclean

My attempt at a summary of Romans 13:14-15:13.

No thing is unclean (sinful) inherently. A thing out of its proper context (too much, too little, at the wrong time, with the wrong person, etc) according to the context God gives it is. The reason we’d partake in anything outside of it’s God given context is because of a lack of trust in God’s word. (“Did He REALLY say…? Did He REALLY mean…?).

So, it is not the sex act done outside of marriage that is the sin, it is the heart attitude that lacks trust in the word of God (sex is for a married couple) that is the sin. Do not decide what is right and wrong on your own. Trust God, who knows and has told us, to tell you. It is not the alcohol, it is the rebellious heart. It is not the distorted electric guitar, or rhythmic drum set, it is the lack of humility and respect for the (usually less tolerant) elderly member of the church.

The line is faith. Are you doing what you are doing (whatever it is that you find yourself doing!) to further magnify The Glory of The Lord Jesus? This is what he asks us to do, whether eating, drinking, working, sleeping, playing, or praying, hugging or Twittering. It is for Him, not for you.

Anyone who imposes their preferences on another is wrong. Do not engage in debates over issues of preference. Give up your preferred way of doing something and do it the way the other prefers (and whoever has the stronger faith between the two of you, give up first.) If it doesn’t build both of your faith up, it’s not worth doing. Find something else to do.

Here is our model: If anyone in the world had the right to impose their preference; to mandate or legislate their way of doing things, it was Jesus. But he did not. Rather he gave up every single preference of his own. Did only what The Father told him to do.

You will say “But that means that the less mature and the most biased in preference will rule the day.” You’re right, and it has always been this way. This happened even to the King of Kings, who humbled himself and gave up his preferences, to the point of people nailing him to planks of wood after torturing him for things he did not do.

The lesson: repent and follow Christ’s example, because we all are those religious hypocrites that demand our own way to the point of murdering God.

And I am the biggest hypocrite. Lord help me.


6 responses to “No Thing is Unclean”

  1. Brian Warshaw Avatar
    Brian Warshaw

    Good article, though I don't feel comfortable saying that individual sinful acts are not sinful acts. I fully believe that breaking commandments 3-10 begins with breaking 1-2, but there are still individual commandments (I'm only using the 10 as an example–not to exclude others).

    I know what you're getting at, but I fear that (though I suspect unintentionally) the particular statement about premarital sex abstracts away an individual sin that the Lord calls out specifically in his Word on numerous occasions.

    Don't mean to deviate from your actual point here (which is important, and essential to folks understanding why they sin and why every sin should be viewed as offensive to God), just felt that should be said.

    1. mheerema Avatar

      This post is definitely a work in progress. I think I'm going to stick to my point here. Maybe I need to more explicitly say "it is not the sex that is the sin". The upshot here is that this is why Christ says it is just as sinful to lust as to actually commit adultery (actually he says if you are lusting you are committing adultery). It is the heart issue that is the sin.

      NOW, from a social standpoint (which is as important) lust is only in the heart and only defiling yourself. Carrying out the act would be defiling someone else along with yourself.

      Still working this out. Thanks for the participation :)

  2. Mark Priestap Avatar

    Brian has a point…

    I think you might have meant to say that "sex" isn't sin. Premarital sex, both the act and the motives behind it are all sinful from start to finish, just like murder. Killing is not sinful, but murder is… sex is not sinful, but premarital sex is. The lack of faith produces the perversion of both sex and killing and turns them into premarital sex and murder respectively.

    "The line is faith. Are you doing what you are doing (whatever it is that you find yourself doing!) to further magnify The Glory of The Lord Jesus? This is what he asks us to do, whether eating, drinking, working, sleeping, playing, or praying, hugging or Twittering. It is for Him, not for you."

    I think what you're describing is the fruit of faith, that as children of God we want to glorify him. That is very true indeed. But I fear that the danger of the admonition is that we strive for the fruit (which will produce despair or pride) rather than to strive to enter into the rest (Heb. 4) in the finished work of Christ which produces that fruit in sinners who are grateful for having been redeemed.

    That said there is a lot of good stuff to chew on. Thanks Matt!

  3. mheerema Avatar

    Yup, will need to clarify the sex outside of marriage part. My sentence structure is unclear. "It is not the sex act that is the sin." That is my meaning. It is impossible to have un-sinful extra-marital sex.

    And you are right on about the "resting from work" a la Hebrews 4. I am indeed describing the fruit of faith.

    The point is this: when deciding whether a particular deed, course of action, etc, is sinful, the question is always: "Was it done in faith (in the finished work of Christ)?"

    I could go to Galatians here as well. Maybe I should. "Neither circumcision or uncircumcision is anything, but only faith working through love."

  4. Mark Priestap Avatar

    amen! :)

    "Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!" – Rom 11:33

  5. mheerema Avatar

    Tweaked a few things for clarity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *