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On What Are We Standing?

Daily Reading: Acts 15

Scripture Focus: So when they were sent off, they went down to Antioch, and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. And when they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. (Acts 15:30-31)

Devotional Thought: As the early church found its legs, they needed to determine on what they would stand. While they did believe in Jesus, some Jews were finding it difficult to grasp that Jesus came to fulfill the requirements of the Law, and that Christians were no longer bound by it.

Such was the case in the passage we read today, as some of the Jewish converts insisted on circumcising the Gentile converts. Centuries of tradition and religious requirements were hard to let go of. Peter made clear that this needed to happen: “God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith,” (v8-9). The council’s letter that was sent to Gentile believers was met with great joy and relief!

Do we meet the news of the gospel with the same joy? Or are we trying to live out our faith bound by legalism, just in case some of our deeds and works will be judged before the Throne at the end of our lives? It is true that we should strive for holiness – that is what the Lord calls his followers to do! But if we are relying on our own righteous deeds to save us, we are in trouble. As Paul would say in Romans 3, “None is righteous, no, not one… no one does good, not even one.”

We can and should live holy lives to please the Lord. It is when we start relying on our own holiness to save us that we need to let the Lord change our hearts.

On what are we standing?


Prayer: Lord, we know that our good and selfless deeds please you and further your Kingdom. Please keep us from the pride that can ensnare us. You are the only Savior we can trust – nothing we can do will be sufficient to cover our transgressions, so let us clothe ourselves with your righteousness, trusting only in you.

Psalm of the Day: 1 Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to the royal son! 2 May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice! 3 Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness! 4 May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor! 5 May they fear you while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations! 6 May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth! 7 In his days may the righteous flourish, and peace abound, till the moon be no more! (Psalms 72:1-7)

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