Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Bacon Cheeseburgers and Salvation

Did you know that bacon cheeseburgers and salvation are connected?

Leviticus Chapter 11 details God's instructions to not eat unclean animals.

"You may eat any animal that has divided hoofs and chews the cud. But you must not eat animals such as camels, rock badgers, and rabbits that chew the cud but don’t have divided hoofs. And you must not eat pigs—they have divided hoofs, but don’t chew the cud. All of these animals are unclean, and you are forbidden even to touch their dead bodies."

It goes on to say that fish with scales are okay, but no shrimp. No lobster. Oh and birds are okay, as long as they aren't birds of prey. Insects are a no no and so are moles, rats, and mice.
I know what some of you are probably thinking…who would want to eat an owl anyways? Centipede tacos, no thank you! Rat sandwich…umm I'll pass.

But these kosher regulations were altered with Jesus' death on the cross.
In Acts 10, Peter is on his way to meet Cornelius, a devout believer in God AND a Gentile. On his way there, he has a vision:

"He saw the heaven opened and something like a large sheet coming down, being lowered to the ground by its four corners. In it were all kinds of four-footed creatures and reptiles and birds of the air. Then he heard a voice saying, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is profane or unclean.” The voice said to him again, a second time, “What God has made clean, you must not call profane.” This happened three times, and the thing was suddenly taken up to heaven."

At first, Peter is befuddled. First, God says previously banned animals are oaky to eat now. Second, a Gentile man is visited by God and acknowledged as a believer. Before Peter could reflect on the crazy, confusing vision God had given him, he encounters the man who had sent for him, Cornelius. It comes to light that Cornelius had previously been visited by an angel of God.

And then it clicks.

What was once unclean, is now clean. What was once only for the ears and hearts of the Jews, is now available for the Gentiles.

The Holy Sprit descends on the Gentiles. God is giving the gift of His Son to all people.

This is a watershed event for Christianity. A major turning point. Salvation is available to the Jews AND the Gentiles!

This relates to YOU and ME.

If the message of Christ was previously only available to the Jewish people, how many of us would have heard of Jesus?

I'm not Jewish by heritage, so the Good News would not have been available to me. I would be a Gentile that is still 'unclean'.

Are you Jewish by heritage? For the majority of you reading this, I would guess you are not.

But this event is God declaring that salvation is now available to ALL.

And by ALL, He means ALL.

So if everyone was given the gracious gift of salvation, who should be allowed into your church? The homeless? Drug addicts? Homosexuals? Liars? Cheaters?

The nicely dressed male couple? The not-so-pleasent smelling man who you recognize from the street corner? The woman known for cheating on her husband?

That's right, salvation is available to all of them. It is their choice to accept it or not.

So just to clarify, salvation is available to all - not everybody IS saved. But the fact that it is available to all people is AMAZING.

Salvation. A gift. For you, for me, for anyone who accepts it and and transforms their heart.

God gave us bacon. God gave us salvation.

And in no way is this post meant to challenge or ridicule Jews or Jewish Christians who choose to follow kosher law. I do not wish to offend anyone.