I Don’t Eat Pork *

       Typically, when we hear the above statement it means someone has made a religious connection. Especially a Jewish or Islamic connection. But when it’s mentioned in a Christian context it’s usually a bit off base. Now it is human nature to rally around something when we want to sooth the conscience & feel righteous. Some other religious rallying positions besides not eating pork are these:
- no dancing or partying                                                          - animal rescue is almost a religion for some
- no jewelry or fancy hair styles – many sects promote this   - special Holy days must be recognized
- no money – vows of poverty                                                  - special underwear must be worn – LDS
- no marriage – celibate priests, monks, nuns, etc.                  - special hats or beards or shaved heads
- community service is a common conscience soother        -  burkas or red spot between eyes must be worn 
The above positions, and title above can be salvation by works. That is where individuals (& or) organized groups feel a need to earn right standing with God (righteousness or clean conscience). This human thinking is "old as dirt", but is it God’s revealed plan for this age??
      The world has an ancient Book that divides time & history into two parts: Old Testament and New Testament. Some pages of the O.T. can lead to strict diet restrictions, polygyny, even ethnic cleansing, and other odd customs. (Such Moses era cases of “service to God” can be found in Deuteronomy, 2 Samuel & Joshua.) The O.T. is wonderful but needs to be carefully interpreted. The main point of the New is that J.C. has simplified the whole process of salvation. It is now a GIFT from above provided by the sacrifice of Christ, which we can willingly receive or shun. Our common works or efforts to please God as per the above (very incomplete) list may be fine, good, & wholesome but count for little or nothing as payment for our salvation..
      Shortly after the resurrection of Christ the apostles still had O.T. Jewish restrictions of diet & ceremonial issues in mind but Peter had a mysterious & dynamic vision of all animals & birds that were now O.K. to eat (Acts 10:9-16). That incident changed the Old Testament rules on meat eating taboos, and other ancient policies.  For those who can accept the New Testament as scripture, we now live in an era of freedom from dead works, and enjoy salvation by grace, (& pork - any way you like it).
-   Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God –   not because of works, lest any man should boast.”
-   Romans 7:6 “But now we are discharged from the Law, dead to that which held us captive, so that we serve not under  the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit.”
-   Romans 14:2 & 5 “One believes he may eat anything, while the weak man eats only vegetables. . . One man esteems one day as better than another, while another man esteems all days alike. Let everyone be fully convinced in his own mind.”
-   Galatians 5:1 “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
-   1 Corinthians 15:3 “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures.”
-   1 Peter 1:23 “You have been born anew, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding  Word of God;”
      As a test just try reading/living the Word of God & see if satanic opposition doesn’t come out of nowhere to take the Word habit from you . . . Same with New Testament church attendance. Same with the prayer habit. But there will be no satanic opposition for social & religious games as per incomplete list above. Our adversary has always approved of misguided zeal & religious confusion.  
      Choose Jesus & His practical salvation. Other approaches to God can be too complicated and lead to dead end paths, & “Rude Surprises” link 79. See also link 9, “Serving God”.

Many other interesting titles:  www.gospelnotes.net – index is link 1                                  * * F. J. Stone * *

* Actually F.J.S. does eat pork. BUT if he had a pet porker, he would not eat him, BECAUSE it’s true, “You can’t have your friends, and eat them too.” Anon.