Acts 15:8-9

Acts 15:8-9

8 God, who knows the heart, showed that He accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as He did to us. 9 He did not discriminate between us and them, for He purified their hearts by faith.
Acts 15:8-9

So where did I pluck these two verses from and who are the ‘us’ and the ‘them’ therein? Easier answer first, the ‘them’ would be Gentile believers. The us would be Jewish believers made up of two groups, those who were 1b teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.”

Well, this did not go over very well with Paul and Barnabas as 2 This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. This disagreement resulted in a council of apostles and elders being called in Jerusalem to directly address this question.

It was there that 5 some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.” It is important to note these were not elders nor were they apostles for the apostles and elders discussed this question – privately is implied – and 7 After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. Yes, it was Peter who first took the gospel of Jesus to the Gentiles. And it was Peter who stated

8 God, who knows the heart, showed that He accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as He did to us. 9 He did not discriminate between us and them, for He purified their hearts by faith.
Acts 15:8-9

Peter concluded his remarks with this powerful statement

No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.
Acts 15:11

In other words circumcision or non-circumcision does not matter. Paul in his letter to the Galatians said much the same when he wrote 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

Returning to Peter’s statements, to paraphrase God knows the heart and because of their faith He purified their hearts. God does know or hearts, in fact He knows them better than we do. We might even deceive ourselves, but we cannot deceive God. So then the question comes down to our faith, do we believe, really believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved? If we do, we need to ask ourselves, “Does my life, do my actions, reflect my faith?” The correct answer to such a question is between you and God. The question will be answered one day when we individually stand before God. What then?

So what does your life, your actions reveal about you, about the condition of your heart, about your faith in the free Gift of Grace from Jesus? Questions worth pondering, worth praying over, and worth listening to the answers.

It’s Monday and I hope everyone is recovered or recovering from Thanksgiving. I also hope you will all have a Great Week. Remember, everyday is worth giving Thanks.