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Then certain individuals came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised
according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the
others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to discuss this question with the apostles and the elders. So they were sent on their way by the church, and as they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, they reported the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the believers. When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them. But some believers who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees stood up and said, “It is necessary for them to be circumcised and ordered to keep the law of Moses.”
The apostles and the elders met together to consider this matter. After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “My brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that I should be the one through whom the Gentiles would hear the message of the good news and become believers. And God, who knows the human heart, testified to them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us; and in cleansing their hearts by faith he has made no distinction between them and us.
Now therefore why are you putting God to the test by
placing on the neck of the disciples a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear? On the contrary, we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”
Want to dig deeper? Additional Scripture
1 Corinthians 7:18-19
Time for Reflection
In addition to the 3 questions found on the attached bookmark consider the following:
Peter’s response to the apostles and elders over the
questions of the conversion of the Gentiles is couched in the actions of God. who
Knows the human heart
Gave them the Holy Spirit
Cleansed their hearts by faith
Suggesting that they stop trying to test God.
How do you see this at work today? Can you think of times when you or the church questioned God? How similar are we to the first century church’s assembly of apostles and elders when it comes to accepting people who are different than us?