I find it interesting that Paul goes through such great lengths to explain the Gospel and all that it entails, then as he’s wrapping things up, he starts to address matters of food and holidays. When I was younger, I thought it was a bit odd. Didn’t understand it. Felt like a waste of time and ink.
But as I’ve gotten older I totally see why he included it. People, especially Christians (aka people who are supposed to be following Jesus), get fired up about some of the most ridiculous things. Things, like holidays and food.
Some people love Christmas and think we have to keep Christ in Christmas, Jesus is the reason for the season, etc. Others refuse to celebrate Christmas because it doesn’t match up historically or because they think it’s too commercialized or they think we should celebrate Hanukkah instead. Some people hate Halloween and think it’s the devil’s holiday. Others get a ton of joy out of celebrating it and can do so with a clear conscience. And don’t even get me started on all the debates around Easter / Resurrection Sunday / whatever you decide to call it.
But it’s not just holidays, right? It’s food too. Some people eat any and all food with a clear conscience. Some are vegetarian, some are pescatarian, some are vegan, some are kosher only.
Paul sees all of this and says, “Each person is free to follow the convictions of conscience.”
He also says God’s kingdom isn’t a matter of what you put in your stomach, for goodness sake. It’s what God does with your life as he sets it right, put it together, and completes it with joy. Our task is to single-mindedly serve Christ. Basically, if the way you live isn’t consistent with what you believe, then it’s wrong.
Pretty simple, right? So I’ll eat kosher; you eat however you’d like. I’ll acknowledge a couple days I think are important; you acknowledge the ones you think are important, or treat them all as the same. I can respect that. We’re good. You good?