"Now the Spirit instructs us that in the later times some will depart from faith,
devoting themselves to deceits - the very teaching of darkness.
Liars will inspire such to seek to determine who can marry whom,
forbidding not only such union, but also the eating of foods which have been clearly
given by God to be received with joy.
Remember that every good thing is created and given by God to be received in this fashion,
and should not be renounced or rejected". Paul to Timothy.
Genuine faith, Luther once noted, can be a pretty unsettling thing.
Try and imagine what it must have been like for Peter, for example, that morning before he met
Cornelius, when he was presented with a requirement to partake of food to eat which, to his manner of thinking was 'unclean'. It must of shaken him deeply, when God not only required this of Him, but sought to teach him three times that what God makes clean can no longer be excluded.
Peter, like so many of us, could operate quite safely in a sphere where piety and devotion, duty and dedication, are all neatly defined by a 'belief' which compartmentalizes the sacred and the secular, but God is far, far too near for such 'neatness'. He is the Lord who rescues the miserably lost, the entirely ungodly. He comes amongst us, into the very dirt of this sin-sick place, and redeems and restores all that we have muddied by our externalizing of sanctity - our 'fig leaf' pretensions of religion. He takes the life of our world, so sickened by sin, and by giving Himself, changes the very common into the framework of eternity, the theater of His Kingdom.
Paul's warning, then, to Timothy, is so pertinent.
Ungodly religion is marked by an ethos which radically denies the sovereignty of God in what He has redeemed. By talking up our piety, our rules, our impetuous attempts at self-righteousness, it lacerates and murders the banqueting table of grace, furnished by our Great God and Saviour.
Redemption takes us beyond the fallen practices which has marked our race since our death in Eden - it calls us to return to life in the giver of all that is good.
Secularism and Legalism simply cannot hold or contain the depth or richness of the gift He gives to each of us - no apparatus of our invention can come close to supplying true confidence in His great and precious promises - it can only continue to deform us into creatures which spurn the beauty of grace.
Peter, (no doubt like us), spent a lifetime learning just how amazing God's work is, both with him and in the world. Are we learning those lessons, or are we buried in pretensions that effectively blind us to that good work, burying our lives beneath a lie of 'godliness'?
Leaving the comfort of our own 'gods' to journey to new lands...
it's a disturbing call.