Thursday, June 8 – Acts 15:28-29
“For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials: that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from acts of sexual immorality; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell.”
What happened in Acts 15 reflects what will happen in any church context where the spread of the gospel is abundant. The more people that belong to the family of God, the more opinions, viewpoints, and backgrounds there are to accommodate.
While certain elements of the Christian faith should never be compromised—the authority of God’s Word, the deity of Christ, or the Trinity, and so on—many more issues could benefit from freedom and compromise. This is what we see in Acts 15:28-29. The church in Jerusalem worked together to ensure clarity and a better and healthier church for their Gentile brothers and sisters. A letter expressed the effect of that work. The goal of the letter was to encourage new Gentile converts and free them from the burden of following unnecessary laws and practices.
The rules the letter presented were unnecessary for salvation but were Spirit-directed compromises that would accommodate fellowship in the church. The church would continue to grow. As it did, they would encounter and question new traditions and practices. And so will we. But with salvation by faith through grace in Jesus as our foundation, we will address those issues in healthy ways and move forward in unity.
- In your own words, what was the intention of the Jerusalem Council as they stepped forward from conflict?
- What should be your intention every time you step forward from conflict with other believers?
- Thank God for the example of compromise the early church gave. Ask Him to help you uphold the essential message of the gospel and let go of your preferences to promote unity and health in the body of Christ.