Unto the pure all things are pure
The apostle having made mention of Jewish fables, and the traditions of the elders, takes notice of some darling notions, that these judaizing Christians had imbibed or retained; that there were some things, which being touched, or handled, or tasted, occasioned uncleanness, and which the apostle denies to them that are "pure"; by whom are meant, not such who are so in their own eyes, who yet may not be cleansed from their filthiness; nor do any become pure through ceremonial, moral, or evangelical performances, done by them; they are only pure, who are justified from all sin by Christ's righteousness, and are clean through the word or sentence of absolution spoken by him; and who are washed from their sins in his blood, and have that sprinkled upon their consciences, by which they are purged and cleansed from all sin; and who have the clean water of sanctifying grace sprinkled upon them, and have clean hearts, and right spirits created in them; and whose hearts are purified by faith, and have true principles of grace and holiness formed in them; whose graces are pure and genuine, their faith is unfeigned, their love is without dissimulation, and their hope without hypocrisy; and who, in consequence of all this, love pureness of heart, speak the pure language of Canaan, hold the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience, and follow after purity of life and conversation: to these "all things are pure"; whatever they touch, or handle, or eat, nothing can defile them; for it is not what enters into man that can pollute him; nor is any creature unclean of itself, but good, and to be received with thanksgiving; see ( Matthew 15:11 ) ( Romans 14:14 ) ( 1 Timothy 4:3-5 ) .
But unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure;
all mankind are defiled with sin; they are altogether become filthy; there is none good, no, not one; and all of them, or that belong to them, are unclean; the members of their body, and the powers and faculties of their soul, their mind and conscience, understanding, will, and affections; there is no place clean: they are originally so, from their first conception and birth; and they are actually defiled by their own evil thoughts, words, and doings: some are openly impure, like the dog and the swine, who wallow in their impieties, such are the profane part of the world; others are more secretly so, as those of a pharisaical complexion, nominal Christians, and formal professors; and such the apostle has here in view: and who, notwithstanding their profession of the Christian religion, were "unbelieving"; they had not true faith in Christ, though they professed it; they were not indeed unbelieving, as the Jews, who rejected Jesus as the Messiah: yet they did not purely and cordially embrace the doctrines of the Gospel, nor yield a spiritual and cheerful subjection to the ordinances of it; but were for mixing the ceremonies of the law with the institutions of Christ: and to these were "nothing pure"; right and lawful to be done, or not done, even in the case supposed, about eating things forbidden by the ceremonial law; to eat them would be to eat with offence, to their own consciences, on their principles, and so be evil, ( Romans 14:20 ) and to abstain from them on account of laws not in force, would be superstition and will worship, and so criminal, ( Colossians 2:21-23 ) . There is nothing that defiled persons can do, but what is unclean; as are their persons, so are their offerings and works, ( Haggai 2:14 ) , and being destitute of true faith, whatever they do is sin, and not anything they do can be acceptable and well pleasing to God, ( Romans 14:23 ) ( Hebrews 11:6 ) . There were some things among the Jews, which were prohibited to them that were defiled, and were free to them that were pure: thus, for instance F21,
``the flesh of the most holy things, and the flesh of those which are lightly holy, boiled with flesh of delight, (or common flesh,) are forbidden (Myamjl) , "to the defiled", but are free (Myrwhjl) , "to the pure".''Which one of their commentators F23 thus explains;
``the flesh of the most holy things is forbidden to strangers, though pure; the flesh of things lightly holy is free to strangers that are pure, but forbidden to them that are defiled.''Whether there may be any allusion to this, may be considered: however, the reason the apostle gives why nothing is pure to the impure, is, because of the pollution of the superior powers and faculties of their soul:
but even their mind and conscience is defiled;
there is nothing in them, or that belongs to them, that is pure; their mind or understanding, which conceives and judges of things, and forms notions of them; and the conscience, which draws conclusions from them, are both defiled with sin; and what then must the thoughts, the words and actions of such persons be? it matters not what they do, or abstain from, what they touch, taste, or handle, or if they do not, they sin in all they do.
F21 Minn. Orla, c. 2. sect. 17.
F23 Bartenora, in Misn. Orla, c. 2. sect. 17.