April 14, 2021 – Wednesday
1 Timothy 4:3 NIV
3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.
To have some clarity here about the They, let us look at the first two verses of this chapter, 1The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. The They then are a combination of Those who abandoned the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. These same people become hypocritical liars and try to enforce a false piety and righteousness upon those who believe and know the truth. These same people, the hypocritical liars, have seared their own consciences as with a hot iron by doing what their real knowledge and conscience know to be contrary to the gospel, wrong and even criminal.
These are the people who forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. What was the deal about forbidding people to marry and directing them to abstain from certain foods? These were from a list of man made rules, legalistic teaching, to deceive believers into thinking if you followed them you would be made more holy, more pleasing to God.
However, there is nothing in the gospel that you would be made more holy if you did not marry or did not eat certain foods. In fact, the idea that abstaining from marriage would make one holy is contrary to God’s plan for mankind as told in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. From Genesis 1:27-28, So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” From 1 Corinthians 7:3-5, The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
Now about not eating certain foods, the same hypocrites would not only speak against legitimate marriage, but also require a pointless abstinence from meat. This is refuted by the next two verses 1 Timothy 4:4-5, For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
Bottom line for us as believers, the Bible is our source for what is permitted and not permitted, not some teaching by some person or group or organization. The Bible is our primary source if we are believers. If you can say, “I believe” concerning Jesus dying for our sins, he rose on the third day, and ascended to heaven then you should always turn to the Bible for what is and is not permitted.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for the Word made flesh in the person of Jesus and thank You that we have the written word today to read and study and follow. Help us to follow Jesus through prayer, meditation on the written word, and study of the same to deepen our faith as believers. – In Jesus Name. Amen.