1Ti 4:4-6 “For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.”
In the third verse of this chapter, Paul tells us to not listen to those “Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” He continues this thought of abstaining from meats in verse four. If we go back to the creation of all things, on the third day God made plant life and declared that it was good. For the rest of His work in creation (including the creation of animals of all types), He declared the work to be good.
On the sixth day, God saw every living thing that He had made and declared that it was very good (Gen. 1:31). Even though sin entered the world by Adam’s transgression (and we continue to perpetuate that), the work of God’s hands is still very good. He is not the author of confusion, nor can He be blamed for our transgressions. We have no right to refuse what God has called good.
Our upbringing can sometimes predispose us to dismiss some things as not worthy to be received. We see this in Peter’s experience of being shown all manner of four-footed beasts (not just cloven hooved), and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowl of the air (Acts 10:12). When God told him to “Rise…: kill and eat,” Peter refused. He had been taught that many of these things were common and unclean (Acts 10:14).
In Peter’s case, God was preparing him to do something that he had been forbidden to do all his life. God was going to send Peter to preach the gospel to a household of Gentiles. Peter had learned that God was able to cleanse (make good) anyone He chose. It was not Peter’s place to refuse, and in being obedient to God, Peter saw the Holy Ghost come upon the Gentiles even as He had the Jews.
The over-reaching lesson here is to receive with thanksgiving that which God has been sanctified by the word of God and prayer. If it be meat (food) to sustain the body, give God thanks and receive it. On the other hand, if it be like Peter’s experience and you are blessed to see those considered “common and unclean” by men coming and seeking after God, give God thanks and receive them.
We need to be careful that, by our traditions, we do not find ourselves refusing a work that God has done. To be good ministers of Jesus Christ, we are called on to remind our brethren of this truth. It is not our place to determine that someone should be deprived of meat. There is great joy for them and us when we receive the goodness of God with thanksgiving.
In verse six, Paul clearly points out to us that which is nourishment (education or instruction – see Strong’s). Words of faith and good doctrine are our meat. God has said this is good, and nothing to be refused. We have attained (been conformed to) this by the grace of God, and we should receive it with thanksgiving.
May we always see the good works of God, hear the good words of God, and feast on them!