Acts 10:15 Again, a second time, a voice said to him, “What God has made clean, you must not call common.”
Some might think it’s what we do as Christians that makes us a peculiar and uncommon people, but uncommon action is not the source of consecration.
I once had a friend who was also the pastor of a church in a denomination noted for worship without instruments. Once on a trip with him, I began to ask some questions about that. I was familiar with worship teams that used guitars, drums and keyboards and was curious about their unwavering commitment to worship a cappella. I expected revelation from some hidden scripture or tradition traced back 2000 years, but instead all he said was, “They’re dogmatic about it because they want to be different. It’s what distinguishes them.”
Some might think it’s what we do as Christians that makes us a peculiar and uncommon people, but uncommon action is not the source of consecration. To believe so is to resurrect religious legalism that Christ buried at His death.
Peter learns this lesson in Acts 10. He thought his consecration was connected to what he touched (or didn’t touch). The old covenant taught that if he touched what was clean, he remained clean. If he touched what was unholy, he would be unholy.
But the word “common” in Acts 10:15 (also translated as “unholy” in some versions) doesn’t have to do with touching, but instead being touched. Consider the difference.
I can touch many things that are common to man without being common. I can drive a nice car, own a big business, and live in an above-average home. I can fly first class, eat fine dining and stay in a five star hotel. I can touch all of it and not be influenced. But if it touches me, that’s different.
The word “common” in Acts 10:15 means to be laid open bare for all to access. You have access to the world and that’s good because God’s called you to touch and influence the world around you. What’s not good is for the world to have access to you. You are not to be “laid open bare” for the world to touch you and influence you.
So how do you know if you’re touching or being touched? Carefully consider these three questions honestly.
Do you enjoy pleasure more than purpose?
Do you alter what you do because of what people think?
Does your death seem more loss than gain?
“Yes” to these questions is common and probably indicates we’re being touched; that the world is touching, accessing and influencing us.
But remember what Peter learned and then let’s learn it, too. What God cleanses is no longer common. We’ve been cleansed by Christ to live an uncommon life in a common world. And uncommon lives are not touched and influenced by the world. The world is touched and influenced by them.