Christianity, Pork Eating, and Legalism

Pork lechon is one of the favorite foods among Filipinos. This food played a role in molding their culture and tradition for many decades in every occasion like town fiesta, and personal celebrations like birthdays, graduation, championship, and many others.

But there are many Filipinos in various religious groups that prohibits the eating of certain food, that includes pork lechon due to legalism.

Surprisingly, these dietary prohibition also crept among evangelical churches.

What is the origin of this practice?

In the Old Testament, the Lord gave certain laws for the Israelites to follow like moral law (The Decalogue), judicial law (civil), and ceremonial law (dietary, clothing, etc) which makes them different from the pagans around them found in the book of Leviticus.

This made them distinct as the chosen people of God.

There are those practices that are very much cultural (local) while there are those that could be applicable to many parts of the world (universal).

To make it more specific, let me focus on the dietary aspect specifically the non-eating of pork.

The reason why they do not eat pork is due to their ceremonial and sacrificial system of prohibiting various unclean animals. One of those are the swine or pig.

So it is understandable that they should not eat such animal out of respect or reverence for God.

However, when Jesus Christ came into this world to offer Himself as a sacrifice for our sins, the animal sacrifice has been done away with. (1)

All the things that goes inside the stomach of a person is not what defiles a person but what comes out of his mouth. (2)

And everything that God created is good and must be receive with thanksgiving for it is made holy (set apart) by the Lord with thanksgiving. (3)

However, not everything that are permissible is beneficial for our body (4)

In summary, the Israelites prohibit themselves from eating pork/pigs because of cultural setting but since we are not in their very own culture we are not to be bound by this practice.

And since we are given by the Lord the freedom it doesn’t mean everything we do are beneficial for us like smoking, drinking alcohol, eating junk foods, pork, among others.

We are not bounded by the Laws because there is something more higher than the Law, that’s love. (5) We have to do the things that we are doing because of our love for the Lord.

I cease from drinking alcoholic beverage, nor smoke, and do observe proper food restrictions not because I am under the Law.

No! I may commit these things without jeopardizing my salvation.

But why will I if I know this will not be beneficial for my body.

A number of medical studies have proven that cigarette smoking/vaping, drinking alcoholic beverage, eating food with high cholesterol content, and others will affect our health in the future.

How can God use me for His glory and honor if I will harm my body?

Remember, the body we have is not ours but the temple of the Holy Spirit. (6)

Let us be compelled to do the things that we do because of our deep conviction and love for God not out of legalism. (7)

Biblical References:

(1) Hebrews 7:27; 9:12-14
(2) Mark 7:18-23
(3) 1 Timothy 4:4-5
(4) 1 Corinthians 10:23; 6:12
(5) Galatians 5:14
(6) 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
(7) 2 Corinthians 5:14

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