“Unto the pure all things are pure…” (Titus 1:15).
Boy, a verse like that sure begs the questions, “Who are these pure people, and why are all things pure for them?”
Well, the word “pure” just means “clean,” as we see when Solomon asked,
“Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?” (Pr. 20:9).
The answer to this rhetorical question is that none of us can make our heart clean! That’s why we need God to save and purify us. So when sinners believe the gospel, God saves them by His grace, “purifying their hearts by faith” (cf. Acts 15:9)—so much so that Paul could tell even the carnal Corinthians that they were “washed” clean because they were saved (I Cor. 6:11).
That means the “pure” people in our text are saved people. But when Paul says that “all things are pure” unto the pure, it doesn’t take a Bible scholar to know that he can’t be saying that sinful things are pure for saved people.
No, in the context, Paul is telling Titus how to deal with “vain talkers…of the circumcision” (Tit. 1:10), unsaved Jews who were teaching the “vain jangling” of the Law (cf. I Tim. 1:6,7). These teachers of the law were probably insisting that certain meats were “unclean” for the pure because the law said they were (Lev. 11:4,5,6,7,8 etc.). For nearly 1500 years, Jews under the law would not eat impure foods.
Of course, Gentiles who were not under the law would eat anything. That’s one of the reasons the Lord called the Gentiles “dogs” (Mt. 15:26), for a dog will eat anything! Your dog might be a fussy eater, but even he will eat anything if he is hungry enough.
But today, in the dispensation of grace, we are all “baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles” (I Cor. 12:13). That means when our apostle Paul says that “we are not under law, but under grace” (Rom. 6:15), even Jewish believers are free to eat meats that God once classified as unclean.
That’s why Paul wrote that “commanding to abstain from meats” (I Tim. 4:3) is one of the many “doctrines of devils” that we should avoid (v. 1). If you take a doctrine that God gave specifically to people in one dispensation and impose it on people in another dispensation, it becomes a doctrine of devils. When Paul added that “every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused” (v. 4), that’s just another way of saying, “unto the pure all things are pure.”
The apostle expressed this truth again when he wrote,
“…the kingdom of God is not meat and drink… all things indeed are pure” (Rom. 14:17,20).
Had Paul written those words during Old Testament times, someone would have steered him to Leviticus 11 and reminded him that the kingdom of God did involve meat and drink under the law. Then they would have led him out to be stoned for saying otherwise!
I know there are many who insist that unclean meats are still impure for the pure, but the only reason God pronounced certain foods unclean was to teach the Jews that certain people were unclean—the unsaved Gentiles (Lev. 20:24,25). We know that Peter understood this, for after the Lord told him he could eat unclean meats (Acts 10:9-16), he said about the Gentiles,
“God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean” (Acts 10:28).
So to say that certain meats are unclean today under grace is to say that the Gentiles are still unclean, and God says otherwise. It’s better to agree with Him when He says, “unto the pure all things are pure.”
Now would somebody please pass the bacon!
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.