Declaring what is Clean
And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. Acts 10:15
suggested further reading: Romans 14
The voice that speaks to Peter mentions clean and unclean meats, but this sentence must be extended to all parts of the life. It says, word for word, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common, but its meaning is that we are not to allow or condemn anything because we stand and fall by the judgment of God alone, so is he judge of all things (Rom. 14:4).
In regard to clean or unclean meats, after the abrogating of the law, God pronounced that all meat was pure and clean. If, on the other hand, mortal man makes his own judgment, forbidding certain foods and allowing others, he takes unto himself the authority and power of God by sacrilegious boldness.
We must always ask for the mouth of the Lord, that we may thereby be assured of what we may lawfully do, for it was not lawful even for Peter to make something profane that was declared lawful by the Word of God.
Furthermore, it is of great importance here to destroy the obstinacy of people, which they too often use in perverse judgments. There is almost no one who does not grant liberty to himself to judge another person’s doings. Now, since we are churlish and malicious, we lean more toward the worse part. In so doing, we take from God what is his. The voice that came to Peter ought to suffice in correcting such boldness, for it is not lawful for us to make this or that unclean. That power belongs to God alone.
These words are also given to us to understand that the Jews were not the holy people of the Lord because they excelled through their own worthiness, but only by reason of God’s adoption. After God received the Gentiles into the society of the covenant, all people—Jew and Gentile alike—possess equal gospel rights.
for meditation: Creating new laws and binding them upon others may be quick, clean, and easy, but it is not our place. Rather, we are to labor to understand God’s will as it is revealed to us in his Word, and we are to equip ourselves and our brothers and sisters to apply that Word to our lives. If God has called something clean, it is sinful for us to call it unclean, no matter how upright our motives.