These words appear in the book of Acts, first in Chapter 10, which states:
9 On the next day, as they were on their way and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the [f]sixth hour to pray. 10 But he became hungry and was desiring to eat; but while they were making preparations, he fell into a trance; 11 and he *saw the [g]sky opened up, and an [h]object like a great sheet coming down, lowered by four corners to the ground, 12 and there were in it all kinds of four-footed animals and [i]crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the [j]air. 13 A voice came to him, “Get up, Peter, [k]kill and eat!” 14 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything [l]unholy and unclean.” 15 Again a voice came to him a second time, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider [m]unholy.” 16 This happened three times, and immediately the [n]object was taken up into the [o]sky.
and the second in chapter 11
4 But Peter began speaking [c]and proceeded to explain to them in orderly sequence, saying, 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision, an [d]object coming down like a great sheet lowered by four corners from [e]the sky; and it came right down to me, 6 and when I had fixed my gaze on it and was observing it [f]I saw the four-footed animals of the earth and the wild beasts and the [g]crawling creatures and the birds of the [h]air. 7 I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter; [i]kill and eat.’ 8 But I said, ‘By no means, Lord, for nothing [j]unholy or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ 9 But a voice from heaven answered a second time, ‘What God has cleansed, no longer [k]consider unholy.’ 10 This happened three times, and everything was drawn back up into [l]the sky.
The message conveyed by those words ‘What God has cleansed, no longer]consider unholy‘ is not limited to nor only applies to Gentiles. If you notice the generality of the words used ‘What God has cleansed..’ you will see that they apply to all humans and while someone can argue that all non-Jewish people are Gentiles, there is a habit by some Christians to limit those words to the good or accepted people of the world. Pedophiles, prostitutes, murders, sex abusers and other unaccepted sinners do not seem to be eligible for this grace in some people’s eyes.
Even divorced people are categorized as unacceptable and shunned by many believers yet if God has cleansed them all, then we are not allowed to call them unholy or deny them Christian fellowship and benefits. The key is to make sure that these people have truly been cleansed, made into new creatures as the Bible tells us Jesus will do.
These cleansed people are not to identify as their old selves because the old has been made new. Nor are they to continue in their old ways. They are not the old person they used to be before coming to Christ.
The believer needs to govern their behavior by knowing God’s attitude towards his redemptive work and adjust to meet that attitude. We really are not free to hold our personal preferences, likes and dislikes against other people. We are to look upon others as God looks upon them and if he sees them as clean then they are clean.
What God has cleansed… no longer consider unholy.