Sex, meat and black pudding
“Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.”
James has been supporting Peter and Paul saying that the Gentiles do not need to be circumcised in order to prove their salvation. It is never Jesus plus.
But now James clearly shows that for everyone who comes to salvation it is most definitely Jesus less. Jesus less their sin.
You cannot bring all your baggage with you. There is a weight allowance.
This is not a compromise for circumcision. This is not about working for salvation or some performance.
1.Idol-polluted food: this is not just food, that is not the focus. It is ‘idol-polluted.’
Throughout the Bible we are told not to associate with idols. Much of the Gentile food was linked to worship of gods. We are prohibited within the 10 Commandments to worship other gods in anyway.
2. Idol-polluted immorality: we are living in days of deep debate over sexual practice within the Church. But James here is referring to the common and well known sexual activity that was associated with idolatry.
3. Idol-polluted animal meat and blood: Nothing is mentioned about the strangulation of animals. However, we do know that Paul believed that the demonic spirits were involved in idolatry (1 Cor 10:20). Early Christian writers wrote that if we ate strangulated animals the blood will still be in them and we may well partake with the demonic (Origen).
So the whole point is this: come to Jesus but let go of idolatry.
It is not about food, sex, meat from strangled animals or black pudding (thankfully!)
It is about idols.
Idols are things we look to in order to find God.
Idols are found in the world but are in the church.
We idolise people, places, programmes and we become in danger of worshipping those things, they move from idols to gods.
It is not Jesus plus circumcision.
But it is Jesus less idolatry.
Don’t idolise food. Consume food don’t let food consume you.
Don’t idolise sex. Sex doesn’t define you nor should it saturate your life.
Don’t idolise the demonic. The demons are here in every culture, look around, find them, some reading this will point to the witch-doctor and others will point to the horoscope. Find them then unfollow them.