And God who knows the thoughts of everyone, showed his approval of the Gentiles by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he had to us. He made no difference between us and them; he forgave their sins because they believed. So then, why do you now want to put God to the test by laying a load on the backs of the believers which neither our ancestors nor we ourselves were able to carry? No! We believe and are saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they are.’ (verses 8-11)
Read Acts 15:1-11
It often seems that in a court of law the rich win their cases more than the poor, educated people win more often than those who are uneducated, and those with no previous criminal record prove their innocence more readily than those with a record.
How easy it is to presume that Christ judges us the same way. The early Christians tended to think so. They were quite happy to concede that the Gentiles could be loved by God, but only if they converted to Jewish ways first.
Peter fervently put a stop to such thinking. Actions don’t save a person. God’s grace does, for nobody can fulfil all the requirements of the law, and no one law is more important than the next in God’s eyes. We are all sinners, and we equally need Gods’ saving grace.
How liberating it is to know that!
Help me, dear Jesus, not to judge people by their appearance and their customs, but let me see them as your children and help me treat them as you would. Amen.
by Kathy Hoopmann, in ‘Guidance for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 2002)
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