If you are asking if food can save someone’s soul from eternal judgment, the answer is a definite NO. There are religious groups who do teach that one must be on a certain diet in order to please God (Seventh Day Adventists teach that MEAT should not be eaten and Mormons forbid such things as COFFEE or other caffeinated drinks) and some go so far as to say that if one doesn’t adhere to their prescribed diet they will not be saved. But the Bible is clear that food, in and of itself, does not defile a person and thus it has nothing to do with salvation. Jesus made this perfectly clear to the religious Pharisees and the multitudes of people when He said, “Hear and understand. Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man…Those things which proceed out of the mouth COME FROM THE HEART, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man” (Matthew 15:10-11, 18-20…NKJV). So, it is positive error to teach that one must eat certain foods to be saved and thus we should never give ear to those who teach this. The Apostle Paul addressed this important issue of food in 1st Timothy 4:1-5, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and COMMANDING TO ABSTAIN FROM FOODS which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and NOTHING TO BE REFUSED IF IT IS RECEIVED WITH THANKSGIVING; for IT IS SANCTIFIED BY THE WORD OF GOD AND PRAYER.”

It is crystal-clear that the believer in Christ is not under a “dietary law” like those who were under the Mosaic Law; we are free to eat any food that is received with thanksgiving. But Scripture does teach us that at times we should abstain from eating foods that may cause someone else to stumble. In the early church there were many saved Jews who were still adhering to the diet prescribed by Moses. The Apostle Paul wrote of them in Romans 14:1-2, “Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not disputes over doubtful things. For one believes he may eat all things, but HE WHO IS WEAK EATS ONLY VEGETABLES.” The “weak brother” was the Jew who thought it was wrong to eat meat. He wasn’t abstaining from meat to be saved, but he still thought it was pleasing to God to maintain this diet. “He who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks” (verse 6). Paul, who loved his “weak brothers and sisters,” went on to teach us that it would be wrong for us to tempt them to eat meat for this could cause them to stumble instead of building them up spiritually. “I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. DO NOT DESTROY WITH YOUR FOOD the one for whom Christ died. Therefore, do no let your good be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God IS NOT EATING AND DRINKING, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men. Therefore, let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may EDIFY ONE ANOTHER. DO NOT DESTROY THE WORK OF GOD FOR THE SAKE OF FOOD. All things are indeed pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak” (verses 14-21). In these words, Paul is simply saying that even though we are free to eat any food (for food has nothing to do with the kingdom of God), yet in love for our brother we should be willing to give up this liberty of eating certain foods in front of him if it will cause him to stumble by eating something his conscience is telling him is wrong. By doing so he won’t be BUILT UP IN HIS FAITH, he will be BROUGHT DOWN by a condemned conscience.

This same principle, of not eating food that will cause a brother to stumble, is addressed in 1st Corinthians chapter 8, only there it deals with “food that was offered to idols.” Many Gentiles were guilty of worshipping idols at feasts before they were saved and after they were saved they thought it was wrong to eat such foods. Paul taught the very same thing as he did about the “weak Jewish brothers” by instructing believers to avoid eating those foods in the presence of a weak brother (or sister). He ends the chapter by saying, “Therefore, if food makes my brother stumbles, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble” (verse 13). May “love for our brother” constrain us to do the same thing; to “give up our liberty to eat or drink something that would cause another believer to stumble.” (457.1)  (DO)