We’ve been exploring a story this week where the early Christians debated whether new Christians from non-Jewish backgrounds needed to first be circumcised, a sign of becoming Jewish, on their way to becoming Christians.
They brought together some key leaders in one place, and decided no. God’s Spirit had moved the same way in both groups, Jesus had prepared them for this, and God’s grace was what saved people, not whether they followed certain customs or laws. They asked the Gentile, or non-Jewish Christians to make certain dietary and similar concessions, but nothing huge.
But what does this have to do with us today? For many Christians today, it’s actually a bit surprising this is even in the Bible. We might not have realized this would be an issue, since the vast majority of Christians today were not Jewish already, and may never have even met a Jewish Christian!
However, this is extremely relevant to every Christian, because we find other prerequisites to add to our faith. Instead of circumcision, we can demand that we, or others, meet certain conditions before we’ll welcome them to our churches, consider them Christians, or feel assured of our own salvation.
We can expect people to dress a certain way, or act a certain way, before they can even enter a church building. Not always explicitly, sometimes those things are communicated in unspoken, unwritten ways.
I knew someone who said they couldn’t come to church, because they didn’t have money for the collection plate. I knew someone else who said they couldn’t lead a small group, because they didn’t know their Bible inside and out.
I used to work at a church in downtown Toronto, and I remember people walking by and asking permission to come in and look around, assuming they couldn’t if they weren’t Christians.
We can do this to other people, yes, but we can also do it to ourselves. Watch the attached video to see some examples:
We often act as if we need to change for God to accept us.
You will need to change, I can guarantee it, every Christian is transformed by the HS once they accept God’s gift of grace, and as they are formed by the church. But you don’t need to change to accept it.
Challenge: Share this video, or the “Welcome to My Church” video with someone you’ve heard saying they aren’t good enough for God. They are, because he can transform anyone.
Meeting with a Group? Your discussion questions are in this week’s Group Study Guide[permalink append=”#comments”]Discuss the Challenge[/permalink]