As I was meditating on today’s scriptures, Acts 15:9-11 got my heart’s attention. It was the word “Grace” that stood out to me. Grace is God blessing us even though we do not deserve it.
According to the text, a party of Pharisees were in Antioch teaching the Gentile believers that unless they were circumcised, which was required by the Law of Moses, they could not be saved. Why this teaching? Circumcision in the Old Testament is defined as a covenant between God and all Jewish males. We know that the Jews didn’t associate with Gentiles since the Gentiles were considered heathens and unclean. They didn’t measure up to the standards of the Jews, they didn’t follow or obey the Mosaic Law and customs, and they were not part of the everlasting covenant between God and Abraham’s descendants.
As Paul and Barnabas are listening to this kind of teaching, a sharp dispute arises between them and the Jewish believers. Paul and Barnabas decide to go to Jerusalem to seek answers from the apostles and elders.
When they arrive in Jerusalem and hear the same teaching from the Jewish believers, Peter (a Jew himself) takes the stand. He shares with the crowd that God called him to preach the Good News to the Gentiles, a message of Grace. (Acts 10:28-48). Peter personally experienced that God does not distinguish between Jews and Gentiles. To God, we are all equal; there is no difference based on skin colour, status, wealth, education or what church we belong to.
The cross demonstrates that Jesus came to tear down the walls of hostility. May we, as a community of believers, make sure not to build them up again, because salvation is for all people. What is required to be saved? Peter declares, “We believe it is through the Grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just like the Gentiles.”
As a teenager, I invited Jesus into my life to be my saviour. As the years went by, I drifted from God and sought meaning, fulfillment and love in all the wrong places. By my mid-twenties, I felt lost, empty and disillusioned with my life. Given the opportunity to go to Florida to learn English, I hoped this would fill the void and longing I felt.
While there, I met some Christians who invited me to go to church with them. The pastor preached about God’s Grace. No matter what I had done, or how far astray I’d gone, God’s Grace was sufficient to forgive all my sins. God’s unconditional love would offer me a fresh start! That’s what I longed for! Right there in the pew, I knelt and recommitted my life to Jesus. I experienced God’s overwhelming love and his forgiveness, a fresh start and freedom that I had not experienced for years.
Grace continues to be my daily companion. Because without it, I can’t make it!
Do you need a fresh start? God’s Grace is waiting!
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