“Unto the pure all things are pure…” (Titus 1:15).
Boy, a verse like that sure begs the questions, “Who are these pure people, and why are all things pure for them?”
Well, the word “pure” just means “clean,” as we see when Solomon asked,
“Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?” (Pr. 20:9).
The answer to this rhetorical question is that none of us can make our heart clean! That’s why we need God to save and purify us. So when sinners believe the gospel, God saves them by His grace, “purifying their hearts by faith” (cf. Acts 15:9)–so much so that Paul could tell even the carnal Corinthians that they were “washed” clean because they were saved (I Cor. 6:11).
That means the “pure” people in our text are saved people. But when Paul says that “all things are pure” unto the pure, it doesn’t take a Bible scholar to know that he can’t be saying that sinful things are pure for saved people.
No, in the context, Paul is telling Titus how to deal with “vain talkers…of the circumcision” (Titus 1:10), unsaved Jews who were teaching the “vain jangling” of the Law (cf. I Tim. 1:6,7). These teachers of the law were probably insisting that certain meats were “unclean” for the pure because the law said they were (Lev. 11:4,5,6,7,8 etc.). For nearly 1500 years, Jews under the law would not eat impure foods.
Of course, Gentiles who were not under the law would eat anything. That’s one of the reasons the Lord called the Gentiles “dogs” (Mt. 15:26), for a dog will eat anything! Your dog might be a fussy eater, but even he will eat anything if he is hungry enough.
But today, in the dispensation of grace, we are all “baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles” (I Cor. 12:13). That means when our apostle Paul says that “we are not under law, but under grace” (Rom. 6:15), even Jewish believers are free to eat meats that God once classified as unclean.
I know there are many who insist that unclean meats are still impure for the pure, but the only reason God pronounced certain foods unclean was to teach the Jews that certain people were unclean–the unsaved Gentiles (Lev. 20:24,25). We know that Peter understood this, for after the Lord told him he could eat unclean meats (Acts 10:9-16), he said about the Gentiles,
“God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean” (Acts 10:28).
So to say that certain meats are unclean today under grace is to say that the Gentiles are still unclean, and God says otherwise. It’s better to agree with Him when He says, “unto the pure all things are pure.”