The Apostle Paul Was Not Always Kosher

There is sufficient evidence in the New Testament to support the theory that the early Jewish Christians generally lived by the Old Testament ordinances even though they now believed in Christ alone for salvation. They circumcised their children, they ate Kosher food, they observed many of the Jewish holidays. However, they did not hold to these rules unflinchingly. They could and would violate the old customs if necessary. Paul explains that he often violated the old traditions when He was trying to convert Pagans to Christianity:

 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. (Galatians 5:21 NIV)

Paul states here that to those not having the law I became like one not having the law. I think this means that he did not observe Jewish traditions around pagans. For instance, I think he would have eaten pork in a Gentile’s house in order to show them that he appreciated their hospitality. He would not have even mentioned the fact that he normally would prefer not to eat “unclean” food. Nevertheless, that does not mean that there were no longer any barriers for him, since he was still not free from God’s law. He was still under Christ’s law, which is the law of love. He would not violate this law in order to attract pagans to the gospel. For instance, I don’t think he would have married more than one wife in order to attract polygamists to the gospel. That is just plain wrong, and in the case of moral disagreements like this one, his testimony to the pagans would be strengthened by him being different than they are, rather than the same.

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