Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | November 12, 2019

“Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles”

Today’s devotion comes from Acts 15:12-35.  Here is a link to this chapter – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+15&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“All the people kept silent, and they were listening to Barnabas and Paul as they were relating what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.

After they had stopped speaking, James answered, saying, “Brethren, listen to me.  Simeon has related how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name.  With this the words of the Prophets agree, just as it is written,

‘AFTER THESE THINGS I will return,
AND I WILL REBUILD THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID WHICH HAS FALLEN,
AND I WILL REBUILD ITS RUINS,
AND I WILL RESTORE IT,
SO THAT THE REST OF MANKIND MAY SEEK THE LORD,
AND ALL THE GENTILES WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME,’
SAYS THE LORD, WHO MAKES THESE THINGS KNOWN FROM LONG AGO.

Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood.  For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”   Acts 15:12-21.

———————

God was obviously now drawing some from among the Gentiles to be part of His own people which now include Jews and Gentiles.  As first proof, Barnabas and Paul related “what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.”  As second proof, James reminded his brethren that Simeon related “how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name.”  As third proof, James quoted the words of the Prophets who prophesied it.

“Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles.” concluded James who only required minor minor things that would be understood and respected by most Gentiles, because it was preached in every city.

The Pharisees lay law upon law on the people:  “And they tie up heavy loads, and lay them on men’s shoulders;  but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger.”  Matthew 23:4.

In contrast, Christ tied up the heavy loads of the law and laid them on His own shoulders and gave us His Spirit as a yoke:  “in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit”.  Romans 8:4.

There is harsh warning to those who act like Pharisees and try to hinder God’s grace toward His people and trouble them.

“Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?  But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.”  Acts 15:10-11.

“You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law;  you have fallen from grace.  For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.

You were running well;  who hindered you from obeying the truth?  This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you.  A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.  I have confidence in you in the Lord that you will adopt no other view;  but the one who is disturbing you will bear his judgment, whoever he is.  But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted?  Then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished.  I wish that those who are troubling you would even mutilate themselves.”  Galatians 5:4-12.


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