Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Bad news for works-based religion

It appears that practically everyone who has been eating beef in the UK in recent times has also been eating pork; and a fair bit of horse, too.

As the article points out, that's very bad news indeed for devout Muslims. Diligently avoiding pork, they've been ... eating pork. Pork is unclean. That uncleanness is real, not symbolic. Coming into contact with it - regardless of your intention - defiles you before God.

That kind of problem is inevitable in any kind of religion in which you try to establish your own righteousness before God. You follow all the rules, try your best - but get caught out anyway. It's unavoidable; God never designed "the rules" for that purpose. True religion does not consist in behaving like unthinking trick ponies, following arbitrary rules to get the carrot instead of the stick.

The Old Testament banned pork for Old Testament Israel, for strategic and symbolic, didactic reasons. Such reasons all found their conclusion and end in Jesus Christ, the gracious Saviour. Our salvation is entirely gracious, not based upon our rigid adherence to laws which we'll inevitably break. The law of Christ is to rejoice in every good gift of God, as he freely and generously gives us all things to rejoice in and deploy for his glory in his creation, including bacon sandwiches. And horse burger.

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